The People’s Republic plans to spend the equivalent of about $202 billion on defence in fiscal year 2021. In recent years, the country has developed and produced off a range of advanced missile systems, aircraft and warships.
Outgoing NATO Military Coordination Committee chairman Stuart Peach, the alliance’s most senior military officer, has expressed concern over what he referred to as the “shocking” speed of China’s military modernization efforts, and its growing diplomatic heft overseas.
“I think it’s very important to keep an eye on that. What do you do if you’re a leader in China with a modernized and powerful large force? You deploy it, you move it around,” Peach suggested.
The officer also pointed to Beijing’s network of “large embassy footprints” in countries around the world, saying many of them are now staffed with “very large defence sections, often populated by general officers,” and wondering “what’s it all for?”
Peach also complained about what he said was the growing strategic military partnership between China and Russia, saying in the course of his career, he has seen Russian-Chinese drills evolve from “relatively minor” operations to “major exercises and training opportunities.” He added though that he doesn’t envision the Russian-Chinese partnership to last forever, claiming that the two powers may clash over the Arctic some day.
Stuart, a career Royal Air Force officer with the rank of air chief marshal,…