China: August 5, 2001



A new Japanese defense White Paper sounds a warning that China is building far more military forces than it would need for self-defense. Key points:

@ China has increased its defense spending by 10% every year for 13 years.

@ China has announced plans to boost defense spending by 17% this year.

@ China has increased intelligence-gathering patrols near Japan and Taiwan.

@ China has steadily added to its arsenal of ballistic missiles.

@ China has successfully built a blue-water navy of destroyers and is now seeking larger vessels.

@ Chinese leaders speak openly of a "high technology local war" which everyone assumes would be against Taiwan, but the forces in question could also threaten the Spratly Islands or even Japan itself.

@ The US will all but certainly help Taiwan arm to resist Chinese pressure, touching off an arms race between Taiwan and China. Chinese efforts to win this arms race would involve building forces that could just as easily threaten Japan.

Japanese intelligence cites China as having 1.7 million troops in 62 divisions, compared to 240,000 troops in 12 divisions for Taiwan. China has 770 fighting ships (total 905,000 metric tons) compared to Taiwan's 340 fighting ships (204,000 metric tons), but these are of higher quality. Taiwan has only 620 combat aircraft to match China's 3,600, but Taiwan's are better and China's must cover other theaters as well. China is thought to have 20 ICBMs that could reach the US, 100 IRBMs that could easily reach Japan (but most are targeted on Russia), and hundreds of shorter-ranged missiles that threaten Taiwan (some of them could reach Japan if their launchers were re-deployed.) Other regional powers include:

@ Russia, with 110,000 troops (17 divisions), 350 fighting vessels, and 750 combat aircraft.

@ North Korea has one million troops (27 divisions), 690 fighting ships (105,000 metric tons), and 590 combat aircraft (few of them modern). --Stephen V Cole


Article Archive

China: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close