China leads rise in Asia military spending

AP photo

Money pumped into Asia Pacific will sustain U.S. focus in region.

Military spending by Asia's major powers surged over the past decade with China leading the way, according to a study released Monday. The money that is being pumped into defense in the Asia Pacific will sustain the U.S. government’s strategic focus on the region, AFP reports.

Defense spending in China, India, South Korea and Taiwan reached $224 billion in 2011, twice the amount the five countries spent collectively in 2000, according to a report by Washington-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Beijing in 2011 spent $25.8 billion on new weapons and research and development, up from $7.3 billion in 2000, the report said. China is second behind the United States in military spending, although the Pentagon budget, at more than $600 billion a year, still dwarfs Beijing, according to the article.