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Opinion

China vs USA: Comparative military strengths

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

Should China attack Taiwan today is the US ready to meet Xi Jinping missile for missile, warplane for warplane, tank for tank, bomb, for bomb, and bullet for bullet? Well, when the giants collide it is always the small ones who stand to suffer. That eventuality shall spell many far-reaching consequences to the lives of Filipinos who have more than 200,000 OFWs in Taiwan. I was once a Labor attaché to Taiwan, I lived there for three years, and I am familiar with the terrain.

No one wants a war at this point in time, with COVID-19, climate change, and an impending food and oil crisis looming. But the recent developments in geopolitics are pushing the superpowers to the brink of war. President Joe Biden's Democratic Party is facing midterm elections. They have to show muscles and global clout to make up for unresolved domestic problems. President Xi Jinping is facing a crucial 20th Communist Party National Congress this autumn of 2022. He is running for an unprecedented third term. He has to demonstrate leadership in global politics. The Pelosi visit to Taiwan was a historic tipping point that demonstrated the American policy of strategic ambiguity.

Here in some Spain and Portugal universities, we are conducting a series of academic colloquiums for Foreign Studies graduate students and we now compare the relative strengths of the USA and China. We shall reserve Russia and NATO as well as other alliances for our academic peregrinations to Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, and Germany later this month. In September, we shall cover the Middle East and Asia. I am honored to be chosen as a part of this select group of academicians owing to my 45 years of uninterrupted experience as a professor of Law, Politics, and Humanities. We have so far covered the USA, Canada, South America and the UK, as well as the Benelux, that is Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

The USA, a nation with an area of 9,857,306 square kilometers and a population of 331,449,281 has a GDP of $20.936 trillion and a GDP per capita income of $63,543. China has an area of 9,596,961 square kilometers with a population of 1,444,390,177. It has a GDP of $14.722 trillion and a GDP per capita of $10,500 only. The USA is a founding member of NATO and its military arsenal includes the top-of-the-line cutting edge weapons systems which are all domestically produced. America is the world's biggest exporter of war armaments and equipment. The Peoples' Liberation Army is the Chinese Communist Party's military arm, which oversees military operations through its Central Military Commission. Russia is the main supplier of China's war arsenal.

The US annual military budget is $738 billion while China's is only $252 billion. The US has an active military force of 1,385,727 and a reserve of 849,450 while China has a superior strength of 2,185,000 plus a reserve force of 8 million. America has an available force of 73,270,043 while China has 385,821,101. America has 6,612 tanks, 41,237 armored fighting vehicles, a total artillery of 4,243, self-propelled artillery of 1,498, and rocket artillery of 1,366. China has 5,750 tanks, 14,130 armored fighting vehicles, a total artillery of 7,094, and 2,720 self-propelled artillery as well as 3,140 rocket artillery. America has 12,930 warplanes, 461 fighter planes, 2,417 multi-role aircraft, 566 attack aircraft, 4,741 war choppers, and 334 combat drones. China has only 4,630 warplanes, 1,049 fighter planes, 1,130 multi-role aircraft, 1,365 war choppers, and 151 combat drones.

China has more naval war vessels at 742 compared to America's 460. But the US has 20 aircraft carriers while China has only four. The US has 94 destroyers while China has only 38. China has 54 frigates, the US has zero. America has 69 war submarines, China has 74. Both countries have nuclear weapons but America has superior technology and more experts. Let us also recall that the US has established records of determination of "no retreat, no surrender". Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the millions who were pulverized to punish Japan for its Pearl Harbor attacks and many war crimes.

All these notwithstanding, these two superpowers should exercise restraint and solve any conflict through diplomacy. When the titans clash, it is us, the small guys, who shall stand to be pulverized.

XI JINPING

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