Report: Defense Budget to Double by 2015

China’s military spending will double by 2015 and outpace the rest of the Asia Pacific region combined, according to a report published by global security think tank IHS Jane’s. From The Wall Street Journal:

Beijing’s military spending will reach $238.2 billion in 2015, compared with $232.5 billion for rest of the region, according to the report. That would also be almost four times the expected defense budget of Japan, the next biggest in the region, in 2015, the report said.

The new report was released as China’s Vice President, Xi Jinping, arrived in Washington at the start of a four-day visit to the U.S. that is seen as a prelude to his expected promotion to Communist Party chief in a once-a-decade leadership change in the fall.

China says that its military spending does not pose a threat to any other country, and has repeatedly pointed out that it still represents a tiny fraction of U.S. defense spending. But the new research highlights what U.S. officials are worried about: That China is rapidly increasing its military spending without being sufficiently transparent about its strategic intentions in the region.

Many of China’s neighbors have been alarmed in the last year or two by what they see as Beijing’s more assertive stance on territorial issues, especially over the South China Sea.

As Reuters notes, The projection from IHS Jane’s comes as Asia launched its largest exhibition of aircraft and military hardware on Tuesday. See also an interactive graphic published by The Financial Times which details defence spending and GDP growth in Asia and the United States.