China's defense build-up: evaluating China's military capabilities

Yves Heng Lim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


One of the salient dimensions of China’s rise in the post–Cold War has been the high-pace modernization of the PLA. According to figures collected by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China’s military expenditures have been multiplied by more than eight – in real terms – over the last two decades. This enormous increase of resources has allowed China to considerably improve the quality of its armed forces, turning an obsolescent PLA into a force increasingly capable of fighting and prevailing in a local war under high-tech/informationized conditions. This chapter examines the progress made by the PLA in the context of a potential clash between Beijing and Washington, which, in all likelihood, would mainly – if not exclusively – be fought over the ‘commons’ – the sea, the air, space and cyberspace. China has substantially enhanced capacity to deny control of the commons, while it has been, at the same time, striving to build a limited capacity to control the commons for its own purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of US-China relations
EditorsAndrew T.H. Tan
Place of PublicationCheltenham, UK; Northampton, USA
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781784715731
ISBN (Print)9781784715724
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


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