22 April 2021
At China’s 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) in March 2021, Beijing set aside funds for a 6.8 per cent increase in national defence spending over the next year — totalling some 1.35 trillion RMB (US$210 billion). James Char, Associate Research Fellow with the China Programme RSIS, writes in this commentary that to suggest that the PLA is now ready to challenge the incumbent world-class military — as some media reports have done — is neither accurate nor helpful in making sense of ongoing developments in the Chinese military. China’s military activities this past decade and its more recent ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy suggest Beijing will unlikely be a benign hegemon should it somehow reach power parity with Washington.
…James Char is an Associate Research Fellow with the China Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is the editor of The People’s Liberation Army in Its Tenth Decade, Journal of Strategic Studies, Volume 44, Issue 2 (2021). He thanks Dennis Blasko and Kenneth Allen for their valuable insights and useful sources.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 04/05/2021