Defense Spending Surges among Asian Giants

Five Asian powers effectively doubled the amount of money they spent on defense in the past decade, collectively reaching some $224 billion in 2011, according to a new report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Unlike the budgets in the United States and Europe, the defense spending of China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan—Asia’s largest defense spenders—has been steadily rising, with most of the spike coming since 2005, states Asian Defense Spending, 2000–2011, issued on Oct. 15. Until 2005, Japan had the largest defense budget in Asia, but since then China has been the biggest spender, states the report. China’s share of the five nation’s combined defense spending, by official sources, more than doubled from just less than 20 percent in 2000 to 40.2 percent in 2011, states the report. These nations, with the exception of Japan, still have large numbers of personnel in their militaries, notes the report. It remains to be seen if they will shrink their force structure to follow trends in the United States and Europe that prioritize the quality of forces over their size, states the report.