Foreign Policy has done a fantastic write up of the Pentagons latest assessment of China’s military strength and more importantly, what the Pentagon left out of its report. It certainly peaked my attention and I thought you should have a look as well.
In its annual appraisal of the Chinese military published last week, the U.S. Department of Defense seems to be describing an object it finds both familiar and mysterious. The report certainly answers many of the important issues concerning China’s military, including its attempts to develop an anti-ship ballistic missile and its continuing fixation on Taiwan.
Yet for many crucial aspects of China’s strategy, the Pentagon seems like it’s just guessing. Here are the five most important questions about Beijing’s defense strategy that remain stubbornly unanswered.
1. What are China’s long-term defense spending plans?
Although China’s official 2012 defense budget is $106 billion, an 11 percent increase over last year and a fourfold increase from a decade ago, the Pentagon places China’s total military spending at somewhere between $120 and $180 billion. “Estimating actual PLA military expenditures is difficult because of poor accounting transparency and China’s still incomplete transition from a command economy,” the report notes, referring to the People’s Liberation Army…