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Sunday, May 28, 2023

China’s military and economic rise in East Asia

China's unprecedented deterrence power is much enhanced against any unwanted action by its hostilities due to its grand strategy and modernized defense capabilities. The most advanced capabilities of China include the A2/AD system which is a response to all the hypothetical intentions of its enemies in the sea.

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The world has witnessed a dramatic rise in the economic status of China for a few decades and this rise is not limited to the economy only. As in today’s era of the non-traditional security paradigm, a number of factors constitute the stability and survivability of a state in international relations. Among these factors, the economy plays a pivotal role after the military. In the case of China, apparently, it is more concerned about enhancing its economic potential as compared to the military potential, but the view of the other side of the mirror shows a cyclic process that how China is investing its economic rise in the enhancement of its military capabilities.

The strengthened economy of the state is utilized in the defense budget, as China planned to expand 6.2 percent of its defense budget annually from 2019 till the next twenty years. The advanced military capabilities are obviously employed as a diplomatic tool in shaping foreign policy and fulfilling the will of China in international politics. Then the cycle continues to trade and enhanced foreign direct investment as a result of building the trust of foreign investors due to proper diplomatic play by China.

Read more: Dynamics of US-China rivalry in Middle East

Understanding the matter better

Eventually, the progress in trade and rise in FDI results in a hike in the economic statistics of the state. So, in this way the cyclic process continues, starting from investing economy for defense purposes along with trade and then using that defense in diplomacy and repatriating the invested money from trade and FDI through diplomatic plays. This is how a country like china made it possible for World to witness its remarkable escalation as a regional as well as a global player in international politics.

It would not be wrong to say that the economic and military rise of china has shaken the status of the United States of America in the region of Asia Pacific. As the statistics show a rapid hike in the economy of China than ever recorded before in history and it is considered that soon the country will be able to claim itself as World’s largest economy. The same is the case with the military developments of China that it is capable of the most advanced military technologies and equipment of its time throughout history. So, for the United States which remained a prominent player in the region of Asia Pacific and a major dominator in reshaping the dynamics of the region for a long time in history, the rapid rise of China in economy and military seems problematic for the US.

As the dependence of other states in the region of Asia Pacific diverges from the United States towards China to a greater extent. It is not like China can now openly challenge the status quo of the United States in global politics but when it comes to regional politics in Asia pacific, the status of the United States has been disturbed by rising China to a huge extent. In order to analyze this phenomenon through a theoretical lens, the Power Transition theory of International Relations is much worthy to serve this purpose.

Read more: Geo-economics and geopolitics of US-China competition

So, the unipolar world order is soon expected to be transformed into a bipolar or even multipolar order. But the idea that China is going to invade the US status of global power is not much appreciated, as the US is still able to preserve its status, yet not in a condition of openly planning to afford any kind of direct confrontation with China.

What will be the future of the China-US standoff?

Apart from an intangible collision between the United States and China, concerning the status quo of global power, there also exists skirmishes between China and its neighboring hostilities. Majority of which are backed by the United States, demonstrating one of the very basic principles of political science that an enemy’s enemy is a friend. Also, the regional complex theory, states that global powers tend to the containment of rising powers on a regional level by stimulating hostilities between a rising power and its neighboring states. South China Dispute is the most prominent in this regard. The other claimants of this maritime dispute against China are under the umbrella of the United States.

The same is the case in the East China Sea dispute, US is also in support of Japan concerning the dispute over Senkaku Island. these two disputes hold much significance for China’s rise as the South China Sea serves as one of the most important maritime trade routes of the World, along with its richness in minerals and resources. So, China has no intentions of compromise of any kind over the settlement of these disputes, rather China has established a very tough time for its hostilities. The militarization of the South China Sea by building artificial islands is worth mentioning in this regard. Any kind of direct confrontation with China is becoming impossible to handle for any other state due to vast advancements in its military technologies.

Read more: US-China strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific

China’s unprecedented deterrence power is much enhanced against any unwanted action by its hostilities due to its Grand strategy and modernized defense capabilities. The most advanced capabilities of China include the A2/AD system which is a response to all the hypothetical intentions of its enemies in the sea. Along with maritime disputes, China is also facing territorial disputes with India on one side and Vietnam on the other side. The Quad alliance formation against China is also opening new dynamics of threat perception for the national security of China, which is also driven by the United States of America.


The writer is a research assistant at International Research Force (IRF), Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.