‘If China sneezes, the world catches a cold’

b5e7china military ‘If China sneezes, the world catches a cold’

With Xi Jinping set to take the reins from outgoing President HuJintao on Thursday, analysts have speculated how the reform-mindedleader will keep China on its forward trajectory.China’s ascendency has for the past decade been contingent onblistering economic growth, a trend that Professor Joseph Chengfrom Hong Kong City University believes will continue despite thelingering economic downturn.“China now aims at an annual growth rate of 7 percent, plus orminus one in the coming five to ten years. This should bemanageable, mainly because the high growth rate areas of China havebeen moving from the coastal areas to the interior provinces,”Cheng told RT.  These projected levels of growth should leave China on track toovertake the US economy within the next four years says JamesCorbett, editor of the Corbett report. Corbett told RT that “alot of players” have a vested interest in China’s economicrise, as a significant downturn would reverberate far beyond thecountry’s borders.“If it was true in past years, that if the US sneezed the restof the world  catches a cold, I think it’s now becoming truein a Chinese situation.  So I think even if China is not ableto maintain its blistering pace of growth, it is still going tocontinue to grow, because there are a lot of investments simplyhinging on that idea,” he argues.The military component of China’s ascendency is not merely areaction to the United States so-called Asian pivot, as any greatpower would need the means to “defend its territory and overseasinterests,” Cheng believes.Double digit growth in military expenditure reflects China’s shiftfrom being an advanced weapons importer to an advanced weaponsdeveloper, as evidenced by the growth in the country’s research anddevelopment budget.Other factors driving the country’s defense spending include theexorbitant outlays needed for remuneration, which “has beenabsorbing a very large portion of the military budget,” as wellas a need to catch up in vital areas like the country’s vastlyunderdeveloped naval capabilities, Cheng says.Corbett believes that while Beijing does one day hope to rivalAmerican military dominance in the region, economic and financialinterests between the two states will likely nullify the potentialof a direct confrontation in the near future.But with China playing an excessively aggressive role in the regionat a time when economic decline is pushing Washington to instituteacross the board cuts to its military budget, some form of conflict“may potentially develop some ways down the road.”

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‘If China sneezes, the world catches a cold’

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