World View: China Defends Military Spending as Promoting Global Peace

This morning's key headlines from
  • China defends its booming military spending as promoting global peace
  • 30 million locusts descend on Egypt in 'Biblical' plague
  • China's anti-ship missile a game-changer, despite Western disbelief

China defends its booming military spending as promoting global peace

At the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee opened its annual meeting on Monday, China defended its booming military spending and massive military buildup saying that they contributed to global peace and stability. 

According to a spokesman: "As such a big country, China's inability to ensure its own security would not be good news for the world. Our strengthening of our defense is to defend ourselves, to defend security and peace, and not to threaten other countries."

China has not yet announced its military budget for 2013 but is expected to do so as early as Tuesday. Military spending has grown substantially each year for more than 20 years, and last year rose 11.2 percent to $106.4 billion an increase of about 67 billion. However, the Pentagon believes that China's military budget is substantially higher than China is claiming. AP

30 million locusts descend on Egypt in 'Biblical' plague

Some 30 million locusts came to Egypt over the weekend, destroying crops on tens of thousands of acres of farmland. A particularly bad swarm infested a major Cairo market on Saturday. 

They appear to have originated in Sudan and traveled up the Red Sea coast to Egypt, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia. Worldwide, global damage from locusts in a single year can reach hundreds of millions of dollars.

Locusts feed on a wide variety of plant species – including leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds and tree bark. One ton of locusts -- a small part of a locust pack -- can consume enough food meant for 2,500 people. 

Next in line for the locusts could be Israel, Jordan and Lebanon, and all three countries have been put on alert. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Jerusalem Post

China's anti-ship missile a game-changer, despite Western disbelief

China’s DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) is no longer merely an aspiration. Beijing has already successfully developed, partially tested and deployed in small numbers the world’s first weapons system capable of targeting American aircraft carriers from long-range, land-based mobile launchers. 

Beijing expects to achieve a growing degree of deterrence with it. What is perhaps most surprising is the foreign skepticism and denial that has accompanied the DF-21D, though officials were in similar denial about many things prior to World War II. 

China has tested all the DF-21 components over land, but the ability to employ it against a moving, uncooperative sea-surface target remains unproven. China may be avoiding making such a test for fear of alarming all of China's neighbors. 

The U.S. has defensive weapons to counter a DF-21 attack, but sequestration could hinder efforts to maintain and enhance those defenses. Jamestown

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