China will soon have air power rivalling the West’s

THERE is no question which country gets the starring role in “The Military Balance”, the latest annual review of the world’s armed forces by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a London-based think-tank. Amid renewed jostling between the world’s great powers, it is the pace of military modernisation in China that stands out.

China’s president, Xi Jinping, wants to be able to challenge America’s military might in the western Pacific. He is making big progress. China’s once bloated armed forces are becoming leaner and a lot more capable. They are also benefiting from a defence budget that is growing at a steady 6-7% a year, in line with GDP. The IISS declares that China has become an innovator in military technology and is “not merely ‘catching up’ with the West”.

For some of the most advanced science, Mr Xi is tapping the private sector. Non-state firms are helping the armed forces to develop quantum technologies that will boost…Continue reading


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