Japan Current Affairs - 2020

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China hikes defence budget by 7.5%

China has increased its defence budget by 7.5 per to $177.61 billion up from last year’s $165 billion. The 2019 Defence Budget of China stood at 1.19 trillion yuan (about $177.61 billion) which is three times the Indian Defence Budget.

China’s Defence Budget

  • China’s Defence Budget growth rate stood at 7.6 per cent in 2016, 7 per cent in 2017 and 8.1 per cent in 2018.
  • China’s defence spending at $177.61 billion makes it the highest spender on defence after the United States.
  • China is equipping its People’s Liberation Army with state-of-the-art hardware, spending heavily on stealth warplanes, aircraft carriers and other weaponry.
  • The Chinese government has stated that the increased spending will “strengthen military training under combat conditions, and firmly protect China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests.”
  • China has also resorted to major reforms of its military, which included giving priority to expanding its navy and air force to enhance its influence abroad.

Increases Budget a Cause of Worry?

China is demonstrating a more posture towards Taipei and China is facing competing claims in the South China Sea from Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan together with a territorial dispute with historic rival Japan in the East China Sea. Hence increased Defence Budget of China may be a precursor to a more aggressive stance against its neighbours.

China has termed the increase in the defence budget as reasonable and appropriate aimed at meeting the country’s demand in safeguarding national security and military reform with Chinese characteristics. China also argues that China’s defence budget at 1.3 per cent of the GDP is much less than major developing countries which spend two per cent GDP on their defence.

China also states that whether a country is a military threat to others or not is not determined by its increase in defence expenditure, but by the foreign and national defence policies it adopts.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with International Space Station

The Crew Dragon capsule of Space X has successfully docked with the International Space Station.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule

  • The demonstration mission is named as Demo-1.
  • It was a test mission before it can begin taking US astronauts into space.
  • After the successful docking, the crew members of International Space Station opened the hatch of the space capsule and, for the first time, penetrated its interior in space.
  • The Dragon Capsule had carried Ripley, a test dummy named after the heroine from Alien Movies, an untethered plush toy, 400 pounds (about 181 kg) of supplies and experiments to the ISS.
  • During the mission, Flight computers guided the spacecraft directly into a docking port, unlike the previous cargo Dragon spacecraft that were attached to the space station after captured by a robotic arm.

International Space Station

The International Space Station is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS maintains an orbit with an altitude of between 330 and 435 km (205 and 270 mi) by means of reboost manoeuvres and  circles the Earth in roughly 92 minutes and completes 15.5 orbits per day

The ISS programme is a joint project between five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).

Demo-1 was a dress rehearsal to demonstrate that the vehicle is reliable and safe so that NASA can resume manned flights from US soil this year and reduce its reliance on Russia to ferry its astronauts to the space station since the end of the US space shuttle program in 2011 after a 30-year run.

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