Tue, 13 Apr 2021

Washington [US], March 7 (ANI): The United States must work with allies to ensure it's capable of meeting the challenges and threats posed by China's military and defence programs in wake of Beijing's increased defence spending, according to analysts.

Larry Wortzel, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council said, as quoted by South China Morning Post (SCMP), "The US cannot afford to take its focus off maintaining parity or a lead on China... The US must work with allies to ensure they are capable of meeting the challenges and potential threats posed by China's military and defence programmes."Other analysts have said China's growing capabilities should serve as a catalyst for the United States putting its affairs in order.

"Instead of fixating on Beijing, or worse, emulating China's top-down, inefficient, state-driven approach to RD, the US government can use this announcement [of China's military spending plans] as a further nudge to get our own innovation house in order," said Anja Manuel, a former diplomat and partner at Rice, Hadley, GatesManuel, a strategic consulting firm.

"We could also give smart tax credits to the most important technologies," she said and added, "Currently I think you can get roughly the same RD tax credit for developing a new craft beer and a new microchip."Another expert said that China's increase in military spending should not just be a concern for countries in the US but countries in the Indo-Pacific region as well.

"China's increased military spending, and related science and technology spending increases, should be taken seriously by policymakers in Washington, as well as by policymakers in Japan, South Korea, Australia, and other countries in the Indo-Pacific," said Rockford Weitz, a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and director of the school's maritime studies programme, according to SCMP.

"The US and its allies in the Indo-Pacific will need to keep pace with those investments," Weitz said.

SCMP further reported that a top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee called on the US to step up its own spending in response. Even as the Pentagon has seen a reduction of US$400 billion in "buying power" since 2011, the PLA added more than USD 200 billion, Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma said.

"This kind of sustained investment has helped China jump ahead of us in key technologies," he said. "If America wants to stand up to China, it's going to take not just working with our allies and partners, but the real investment of our own - into innovative capabilities and the forward posture that will send a strong message of deterrence."Wortzel said some spending this year was likely aimed at mitigating the effects of Trump administration restrictions on exports to China and the crackdown on Chinese military students attending US universities.

"That means that the PLA and defence industries cannot get the technologies they relied on from intellectual property theft or espionage," he said. "The Biden administration will probably not lift those restrictions."According to the news outlet, The State Department confirmed the new administration's concern about US technology being diverted to the PLA.

"We have to play a better defense, which must include making sure that American technologies are not facilitating China's military buildup or human rights abuses," a representative of the department said.

"The rapid development and operational focus of China's military constitutes a significant and long-term security threat to the United States and to our allies and partners," the representative added.

In January, China's top legislative body, the National People's Congress Standing Committee, passed the coastguard law that empowers the coastguard to use "all necessary means" to deter threats posed by foreign vessels in waters "under China's jurisdiction".

It allows the coastguards to launch pre-emptive strikes without prior warning if commanders deem it necessary.

Under the new law, coastguard personnel can demolish structures built or installed by other countries in Chinese-claimed waters and board and inspect foreign ships in the area.

China has been increasing its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months, partly in response to Beijing's concerns over the increasing US military presence in the region because of escalating Sino-US tensions. (ANI)

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