So, this past week, the annual DoD report on Chinese military came out. Just some hours later, the military budget for PLA was also announced. It's kind of interesting that they had another 17.6% increase this year. Of course, there were an outcry from numerous countries asking for more transparency on this increase. There was also a general outcry on the DoD report for more transparency. So, why have there been this sustained increase in increases of military expenditure? The obvious reason is that China has had a sustained 9+% economic growth for the past 25 years. And the other reason is that they simply have been able to gain more revenue from tariff on the trade growth, increased taxes from corporations and finally having incoming taxes for the growing middle/upper class. As the tax laws become better enforced in the coming years, they will simply get more money to spend on government programs. This hasn't been a military budget expansion, but a general government expansion. Or as we call in the Western governments, adopting a bigger government. Interesting enough, the military budget as a portion of the overall budget has not really changed in the past few years. And I guess part of the reason is that salaries/inflation around China is going up quite a bit recently and you need to take care of the people that do these jobs. Certainly, as PLA expands, being able to recruit the top people, training them the right way is just as important as acquiring new hardwares and developing new doctrines.
The question of why China needs the military expansion is also prominently in the media. I have often wondered why the DoD never tried to answer this question. It's quite clear that facing the traditional enemies in Japan and Taiwan on the East side will always cause a lot of concerns for China. And with their ever great dependence on energy/natural resource supply and other trades with the countries to the west, it's a little wonder that China would be interested in developing a blue water fleet to relieve those choke points. The land threats from Russia and India have decreased in the recent years, but they would have to be on the mind of any PLA military planner. And the biggest threat is probably have USA list you as their biggest threat of the next 25 years. Any country receiving that kind of title would probably be feeling quite nervous. And finally, what about the all important factor of national pride. As the largest country in the world with soon to be 3rd largest economy, it is absolutely logical for a country of this size to develop the 2nd or 3rd most powerful military in the world. However, the growth of its military has not actually matched the growth in its economic power or soft power. Much of the recent equipment received are simply replacing older models with much more capable newer machineries. Is it really China's fault that most of the Western military powers are finding it too expensive too replace older weapons on a 1 to 1 basis?
Anyhow, We've had some really nice recent photos from North Sea Fleet conducting a big exercise + more photos out with the new Yuan in the Shanghai base. Here they are.
First, some of the kilos that we haven't seen for a while
Now, the new Yuan
Pictures of the 2nd 054A from HP shipyard.
And finally, the pictures from NSF of 115 and 116, 051C was involved in its first ever ASW exercise
And a nice photo of 112's weapons + firing off YJ-83 it looks like