Will China replace the U.S. as the most dominant military power in Asia by December 31, 2024?
Closing Jan 01, 2025 05:01AM UTC
China poses multifaceted challenges to Western democracies, playing a pivotal role in the future of the transatlantic relationship. The U.S. and European Union are confronted with a complex dichotomy regarding their relationship with China: an indispensable partner in areas of trade and economics but at the same time a strategic rival and growing security threat. Can the West, and the world order it stands for, and China coexist in the long term, or will it have to come to a systemic decision?
Over the last few years, the Chinese government has been reforming its military and increasing defense spending to make the People’s Liberation Army stronger, more efficient and technologically advanced. According to World Bank data, China’s military expenditure has increased exponentially in the past twenty years from $22.2 billion in 2000 to over $250 billion in 2020, heavily investing in AI military capabilities and anti-ship ballistic missiles.
According to a 2021 report from the U.S. Department of Defense, China’s long-term strategy is to “achieve ‘the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation’ by 2049 to match or surpass U.S. global influence and power, displace U.S. alliances and security partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, and revise the international order to be more advantageous to Beijing’s authoritarian system and national interests.”
This question will resolve positively if China surpasses the United States in military capability by December 31, 2024 according to the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index, measuring influence and relative power in Asia.
Further ReadingLowy Institute Asia Power Index 2021 Edition
U.S. Department of Defense “China Military Power Reports Details Advances, Goals in 2020”
Merics “Beyond blocs: global views on China and U.S.-China relations”
Brookings “Getting the China challenge right”
CFR “China’s modernizing military”
Business Insider “Updated Pentagon maps reveal the Chinese military’s growing reach”
World Bank - Military expenditure – China