I swayed Submarine deal between America and Australia, In addition to the missile tests that took place this week in the Pacific region, the light on a regional arms race is escalating on the impact of the increasing competition between China and the United States.
Within 24 hours this week, North Korea fired two projectiles from a train, South Korea conducted a successful test of its first submarine-launched ballistic missile, and Australia announced an unprecedented deal to purchase advanced US nuclear-powered submarines and cruise missiles.
Spending on arms accelerates
Perhaps all of these surges point, according to experts, to a region where spending on the most modern weapons is accelerating.
Commenting on these data, Yonsei University professor John Delury told AFP that “there is some rush to armaments in the Al-Hindi and Pacific region… with a feeling that everyone is doing that.”
In turn, Lucy Bird-Sidoro, the institute’s official, explained that there has been an “upward trend in that region during the past twenty years”, considering that “Asia is really the region where the upward trend in armaments is observed more than anywhere else.
Last year alone, Asia and Oceania spent more than $1 trillion on their militaries, according to figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
China the lion’s share
Chinas share represents half of this amount spent. Beijing currently spends on its defense about $ 252 billion annually, an increase of 76 percent since 2011, allowing it to project its power across the region and directly challenge American supremacy.
But defense spending is also increasing in Australia, India, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere.
According to Michael Shoebridge, a former Australian military intelligence official who now works for the Australian Institute for Strategic Policy, the spending is a direct response to China.
“The real military competition is between China and other partners who want to deter it from using force,” he said.
“This reaction has increased, especially since Xi Jinping assumed the presidency, as he is clearly interested in using all the power that China gains in a coercive and aggressive manner,” he added.
Australia and Americas nuclear submarines
In addition, he explained that Australias decision, last Thursday, to possess at least eight US nuclear-powered submarines and an unspecified number of Tomahawk cruise missiles, also came in the context of raising the costs of engaging in any potential military conflict for China.
He continued, “Even what South Korea spends is motivated by China as well as by North Korea… There is no other explanation for Seoul’s decision to build an aircraft carrier apart from North Korea.”
Also, “Indias modernization of its army is clearly driven by the growing military power of China,” according to the analyst.
Beijing is fond of armaments, and Washington is happy
As for China, who is fond of describing its relationship with the United States as a “great-power rivalry”, it accuses the United States of fueling the arms race.
But if it is the fear of China that has become the driving force of regional defense spending, the United States seems happy to speed up that process and help its regional allies to consolidate their power.