Freedom Folks

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ah, The Many Splendored Benefits Of "Free Trade!"

Source: NYTimes

Or: Arming your enemies...
China announced its biggest increase in defense spending in five years on Sunday, a development that quickly prompted the United States to renew its calls for more transparency from the Chinese military about the scope and intent of its continuing, rapid arms buildup.

Jiang Enzhu, a spokesman for the National People’s Congress, the Communist Party-controlled national legislature, said China’s military budget would rise this year by 17.8 percent to roughly 350 billion yuan, or just under $45 billion.

“We must increase our military budget, as it is important to national security,” Mr. Jiang said at a news conference. “China’s military must modernize. Our overall defenses are weak.”

But China’s military modernization efforts, particularly its drive to develop advanced weaponry, have been raising concern from Washington to Tokyo to New Delhi, where officials are worried that the buildup could be as much offensive as defensive. In January, China set off fears of an arms race in space when it successfully tested an antisatellite missile that destroyed one its own aging weather satellites. A month earlier, the People’s Liberation Army began deploying the country’s first state-of-the-art jet fighter, the J-10.

These advances reflect China’s intense focus on scientific and technological development, and are the fruits of more than a decade of increased military spending. China’s defense outlays increased an average of about 15 percent a year from 1990 to 2005, according to the Chinese military. This year’s jump is the largest one reported since military spending rose by 19.4 percent in 2002.
Captain Ed reports..."One of the reasons that American analysts have grown so concerned with these increases is that they believe the actual spending level of the Chinese is much higher than announced. Experts figure the actual outlay on defense amounts to as much as four times the announced level of $45 billion. China plays the numbers down, in part for domestic consumption, and in part from a policy of playing cards close to the vest."

And..."The level of spending has not reached a critical point as a threat to us -- yet."

How comforting. Remember, when you buy that $3 Tickle Me Elmo from Wal-mart you are doing your part to finance the Red Chinese Army.

H/T Captain's Quarters

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