February 8, 2010; In Asia, China is increasing its lead in defense spending. China does not release accurate data on defense spending (a common trait in all communist nations), but admits that its defense spending has doubled in the last decade. Current Chinese defense spending is believed to be $90 billion a year. That's nearly ten times the $9.2 billion Taiwan spends. China spends twice what Japan does, and more than three times South Koreas' $24 billion. Tiny Singapore spends nearly $6 billion a year, and has one of the most effective, man-for-man, forces in the region. India, which is increasingly becoming a military rival of China, spends about $30 billion a year. Australia spends about $24 billion a year. All the other nations in the region spend relatively small amounts, barely enough to keep threadbare forces fed and minimally equipped. China's only allies in the region; North Korea and Pakistan, together spend less than $5 billion a year on defense.
China increased its defense spending 14.9 percent last year. That's down from the 17.9 percent jump in 2008. China claims that its defense spending is only 1.4 percent of GDP (compared to 4 percent for the U.S. and 1-2 percent for most other Western nations.) But China keeps a lot of defense spending off the official defense budget, and actual spending is closer to three percent of GDP. Currently, the U.S. has a GDP of $13.8 trillion, Japan $4.4 trillion and China, $3.5 trillion.