A new study shows that over the past decade, five Asian powers have increased military spending to levels among the highest in the world, with China leading the way.
The study released Monday by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies says China has quadrupled its defense budget since 2000. It also says India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have dramatically increased their military spending.
That trend is in contrast with the United States and European Union, whose defense budgets have been declining in recent years.
Defense spending in the five analyzed Asian powers still trails that of the United States, but the CSIS study says it will surpass Europe's military expenditures this year.
The CSIS study says the five Asian governments spent about $224 billion in 2011, which is almost twice what they collectively spent in 2000. China's estimated defense spending has grown from about $22.5 billion to almost $90 billion in the past decade. But the authors say that some estimates put Chinese spending at a much higher level.
Japan's military budget was close to $60 billion last year. India's defense spending reached $37 billion. South Korea invested about $29 billion on its armament, while Taiwan's defense budget stood at $10 billion in 2011.
China now ranks second behind the United States in total military spending, although the Pentagon's budget still outpaces Beijing's defense spending at more than $600 billion year.