The Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper, has called for strengthening the country’s military capabilities so they are strong enough to “overwhelm” the U.S. military.
A Thursday op-ed in the paper reacted to President Joe Biden’s recent budget proposal, in which he requested $842 billion worth of defense funding, a more than 3 percent increase.
The proposed defense budget is more than the $816 billion that Congress set for the current fiscal year, according to Bloomberg. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren described the proposed funding as “one of the largest Pentagon budgets in history.”
Reflecting concerns about Chinese military ambitions, Biden’s defense budget includes $9.1 billion in investments next year through the Pentagon’s Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which would fund new weapons systems to protect allies and defend U.S. interests in the region.
In his Global Times column, Hu Xijin called the U.S. defense budget figure “staggering” and said it is about four times the size of China’s defense budget.
President Joe Biden walks on the White House’s South Lawn on Thursday after returning from Philadelphia to release his 2024 federal budget. It includes $842 billion worth of defense funding, which a Chinese newspaper op-ed called “staggering.”
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
The columnist charged that the U.S. has “unlimited greed” for expanding its military capabilities, which he believes is a warning sign for China. Hu said his country needs to improve its military’s capabilities, with a lesser budget, to have a “sufficiently effective deterrent” against America.
U.S. relations with China have recently been tense—partially over the sovereignty of Taiwan—and both countries are preparing for the possibility of all-out conflict in the Pacific, even if neither nation is pursuing such a threatening course.
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who served as ambassador to the U.S. until late last year, told reporters in Beijing that “conflict and confrontation” between both nations is inevitable if Washington does not change its approach toward his country.
Meanwhile, U.S. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth outlined a strategy last week for how the Pentagon would be “prepared to fight and win that war” with China should tensions escalate.
China has no interest in engaging in a conflict against the U.S. in the Pacific, Hu wrote in the Global Times, but will still be prepared.
“We have no intention of confronting the US in the Pacific, Indian, or the Atlantic Ocean, but we must ensure that our military capabilities in China’s offshore waters overwhelm the overall military capabilities that the US and its allies can mobilize in this region,” his op-ed says.
“The military posture in this region must fundamentally change over time. China will invest as much military budget and other resources as necessary to achieve this goal. This is not an arms race with the US, but a legitimate and just measure to address China’s national security,” Hu wrote.
Hu went on to say that the United States’ “crazy increase” in military spending will put a lot of pressure on China, which is America’s “top strategic competitor.”
“The US has pushed military competition to a prominent position in major power relations, which sent a message to the world that military strength is a trump card in the game between major powers,” Hu said. “Now, the primary target of the US’ massive military spending is China.
He went on: “The US is obviously aiming at maintaining an overwhelming military advantage over China in the long term, including having the absolute certainty of defeating the People’s Liberation Army in China’s offshore waters.”
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.
Source : Newsweek