Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Philippine Coast Guard personnel aboard a rubber boat sail near Chinese vessels believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia personnel at Whitsun Reef, South China Sea, in a handout photo distributed by the Philippine Coast Guard April 15 and taken according to the source on either April 13 or 14, 2021.


Canada’s acting top soldier says China’s investments in defence capabilities means the Western military alliance faces the prospect of being technologically outgunned for the first time since the early years of the Second World War.

Acting chief of the defence staff Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre was speaking to the Senate committee on national security and defence Monday and was asked about China’s expanding military capabilities in the Pacific and whether he was concerned the West was not keeping pace.

He cited Beijing’s spending on cutting-edge technology such as hypersonic weapons, which allow missiles to travel extremely fast and dodge defences.

Story continues below advertisement

“This is something of grave concern to me. China is making massive investments into its military capabilities, including new technologies such as hypersonics, such as artificial intelligence, such as quantum computing,” he said in reply to a question from Senator Yonah Martin.

“And I would say for the first time since the early 1940s, we, the Western alliance, face a military capability overmatch both in terms of quality and quantity of the type of military capabilities that China is investing in.”

In military terms, an “overmatch” is when the capability of an adversary exceeds its rival’s.

The Canadian government’s latest budget, however, was tabled Monday and contained no new funds earmarked for such concerns. It announced nearly $850-million, over five years, for contributions to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance, as well as $252-million over five years for continental defence through the North American Aerospace Defense Command. This amounted to a little more than 1 per cent of the $101-billion 2021 budget.

Beijing has been rapidly modernizing its armed forces and increasing its military presence in the disputed waters of the South China Sea and the East China Sea. It has long geared its military toward defending itself against the United States. China’s reported defence budget in 2021 – the equivalent of US$208.5 billion – is about a quarter of U.S. defence spending, which amounted to US$714-billion in the fiscal year 2020 and is expected to increase to US$733-billion in 2021. Many diplomats and foreign experts believe Beijing underreports the real number.

China claims “indisputable sovereignty” over almost all the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, where it has established military outposts on artificial islands. It maintains this even though the United Nations-appointed arbitration court has ruled China has no historic title to the area.

“China is imposing its will on neighbours. We see that constantly,” Lt.-Gen. Eyre told the Senate committee, adding he believes the “threat to the rules-based international order is significant.”

Story continues below advertisement

David Perry, vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said he does not believe the U.S. military is broadly outgunned by China’s. He said, however, technological spending by Beijing means China is developing capability that outmatches the U.S. in certain areas.

He said Lt.-Gen. Eyre is essentially saying that “in certain specific and potentially very important areas, the Chinese are leading.

“The Chinese are not on par with everything, but they are investing very, very heavily and very adroitly in some areas, and they are very good – probably better than the West – in a lot of these,” he said.

Mr. Perry offered the example of hypersonic missiles, which travel extremely fast and can dodge and weave during flight to avoid interceptors.

“The type of self-protection missile defence systems that our frigates – or even our new warships being built – have aren’t really designed to defend themselves against the flight pattern of a hypersonic missile,” he said.

Lt-Gen. Eyre’s previous assignments include deputy commander at the United Nations Command in South Korea, the multinational force created in response to North Korean aggression more than half a century ago, which defended South Korea during the Korean War.

Story continues below advertisement

He said this South Korea post gave him insight into the region’s challenges and the risks of how “developing a sense of superiority, of overconfidence, coupled with a lack of communication, could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation.”

The acting defence chief said Russia’s stepped-up military activities in the Arctic – and increased interest from China – are reasons why Canada needs to “put more focus on continental defence.”

He said with the “opening of the North” due to climate change, many are interested in the region – including the Chinese, who do not own territory in the Arctic.

With a report from Reuters

Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies