Arms Race in Asia

The Asia Pacific region is growing in importance. In it can be found parts of China and Japan, the second and the third largest economies in the world today. Then there is the ASEAN nations which collectively taken is one of the fastest growing economies in the world today. But all that growth and prosperity is being threatened now. Fear is spreading among the countries there and the fear has some basis. Aside from the fast growing economies, military spending is also quickly rising in the region. Some have termed it as an arms race. We all know that an arms race is like a powder keg. It only takes a small spark to make it explode.

Arms Race in the Past

There have been other arms races in the past. Virtually any time when countries tried to outdo each other, these countries would end up in a race to see who could acquire more arms and weapons. That is partly as a form of preparation should an arm conflict really come up. The one with the most number of weapons of the highest quality would naturally have a higher chance of winning. It is also partly driven by national prestige. The more expensive the weapons that are bought by a country, the better for its reputation.

One of the most famous arms races was the one between Britain, Germany and other European countries before World War Two. It was mostly a naval arms race to see who could build the most powerful navy then. Then there is the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Arms Race in Asia

Experts fear that there is an on-going arms race now among the countries in the Asia Pacific region. This is mostly attributed to the rise of China as a world power. Its armed services are starting to rival that of the U.S. and its neighbours are getting nervous. Japan for one is not too happy with the aggressive way that China is branding itself.


The age-old reason for conflict between countries is also the same thing fuelling this arms race. China is locked in territorial disputes with most of its neighbours. It is in dispute with Japan, the Philippines and other countries in the ASEAN. What’s worrying the experts is that the tensions are rising and the spark that could ignite an armed conflict could happen any time soon.

This fear of the might of China is driving the smaller countries to buy arms and weapons. The Philippines is starting to modernize its antiquated military that has been focused for too long on internal security threats. Japan is starting to arm seriously for the first time since World War Two. Other countries are getting ships, planes, submarines and other weapons that are needed by a modern military.

War in that part of the world can have a tremendous impact on the world. The sea lanes on the disputed waters are some of the busiest in the world. The world would be hurt if shots are fired there.