Military spending in East Asia: Territorial conflicts and spiraling risks

Since 1997, the rise of China brought the level of military spending in East Asia to unprecedented heights, and all regional countries have invested considerable resources in their respective naval forces. In a context characterized by political tensions and territorial disputes, is this military spending pattern posing a risk to regional stability? The present note identifies some of the key components of an overall rush toward the maritime domain in East Asia and assesses that territorial disputes do not just broaden the scope of the regional security dilemma; they reshape it on a basis that is more volatile than ever.

Crédit photo : exercices maritimes entre les marines américaine et sud-coréenne (source : Aaron Shelley/ U.S. Navy)