China’s military modernisation in the spotlight amid Chinese New Year festivities

China first indigenous carrier
Photo: Li Gang/Xinhua
China first indigenous carrier
Photo: Li Gang/Xinhua

As millions of Chinese begin their New Year celebrations today, government officials will make several military inspections across the country amid an ongoing push to modernise the People’s Liberation Army.

China’s rapid economic growth over the past two decades has placed Beijing in competition with other global powers, a position which demands an updated defence force. The country has since invested heavily in its military in an attempt to keep up with its ever-growing geopolitical importance.

Although still unable to project the country’s power globally, President Xi Jinping has made China’s modernisation effort a priority, ramping up military spending to the $150 billion. China is expected to introduce their first indigenously built aircraft carrier this month, with another in the works.

Aircraft carriers provide Beijing with essential mobile command centres from which to extend their influence abroad. With the expanse of the Pacific next door, this pivot from land to sea power is a vital step in China’s journey to becoming an indisputable global superpower.

Delve deeper: The PLA in transition: in pursuit of the ‘China dream’

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