China has invested billions in its military in recent years as it aims to establish itself as the most powerful force in the world, overtaking the US in the process. As part of this pursuit of supremacy, the country’s Navy, Army and Air forces have boasted some of the most fearsome weapons on the planet. But the coronavirus crisis has compromised every aspect of Beijing’s ambitions, economically, politically and militarily.
In a report by GlobalData, it is outlined how delivery of a crucial aircraft carrier and fighter jets could be scuppered by the virus containment effort.
Analyst William Davies stated: “The coronavirus has the potential to slow the delivery of key projects such as China’s third aircraft carrier and new fighter jets.
“While this delay will only have a minor impact in the short term, if the crisis continues and companies are forced to halt production for a longer period then this could have long term impact on China’s shipbuilding timelines.
“As the virus develops further, it will almost certainly affect nearly every industry.”
The region boasts a wealth of natural resources, and also hosts vital shipping lanes for world trade – a notable 12 percent of British trade passes through the South China Sea each year.
Maritime shipping is 9 percent of global trade according to the same figures and given the region’s growing importance an increase is likely.
Beijing initially aimed to have five carriers in use in the near future, but according to the South China Morning Post these plans have been put on hold.
A military insider told the newspaper “that technical challenges and high costs had put the brakes on the programme”.
In 2018, it was estimated that China’s military budget was £135billion, and with Beijing’s markets falling 8 percent on the first day of trading after its new year holidays, economic woes are bound to hit the country’s forces.
Travel restrictions and a drop in consumers has had an impact on every aspect of China’s economy.
Movement of goods and workers have been drastically reduced, and people in the country are avoiding everyday activities such as going to restaurants, cinemas, and shops.
The crisis shows no signs of ending, with the disease having now led to more than 1,300 deaths in China.