China budgeted $145 billion for modernizing its military, including advancing its UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), warships, fighter jets, sophisticated missiles, and cyber warfare capabilities, the Pentagon announced Thursday. The Pentagon estimate exceeded the public information provided by the Chinese, who suggested they spent $119.5 billion in 2013.
According to Reuters, the Pentagon said that its estimates could not be precisely stated, largely because of China’s “poor accounting transparency and incomplete transition from a command economy.”
China responded to the Pentagon’s analysis, rejecting it outright. The Chinese Defense Ministry said it was “resolutely opposed” to the Department of Defense report. “Year after year the United States issues this so-called report on ‘Military and Security Developments in China,’ making preposterous criticisms of China’s normal defense and military building, exaggerating the ‘China military threat’, which is totally wrong,” said a Defense Ministry response from Beijing.
A reporter at China’s Xinhua state-controlled news agency said the report was “filled with flawed facts” but did not give any examples.
The Pentagon report warned of China’s advances in the South and East China seas, suggesting Beijing had prepared contingency plans should conflict arise in the region.
The Pentagon report also warned of the Chinese Navy’s increasingly aggressive behavior. The report noted that the Chinese Navy had just conducted its largest open-water drill exercise every recorded. “China’s military investments provide it with a growing ability to project power at increasingly longer ranges,” said the report.
The Pentagon said China continues to pose a significant threat to Taiwan and that Beijing still continues a hostile policy towards the break-off state. “Despite positive public statements about cross-Strait dynamics from top leaders… There have been no signs that China’s military disposition opposite Taiwan has changed significantly,” said the report.
According to the report, China has invested massive resources into its drone program. The report said that China would be soon be able to match the technology of the United States in its unmanned systems. The report stated the Chinese program “combines unlimited resources with technological awareness that might allow China to match or even outpace U.S. spending on unmanned systems in the future.”