China is determined to match its aggressive military talk in South-East Asia with spending. A report by the Lowy Institute in Australia shows in 2021 it achieved just that as other reports indicate Beijing is looking to establish its first permanent military presence on the Atlantic Ocean in the tiny Central African country of Equatorial Guinea. According to the latest Asia Power Index, China’s military financial outlay is now 50 per cent larger than India, Japan, Taiwan, and all 10 members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) combined. The annual report by the Lowy Institute noted in 2021, the U.S. remained the most powerful country in the Asia-Pacific region, with China coming in second place, after steadily growing influence on the Index in recent years. “The pandemic has really affected most countries in terms of their ability to shape and respond to their external environment, but the United States has actually gained in its comprehensive power for the first time since 2018,” Hervé Lemahieu, the Lowy Institute’s director of research, told the ABC. “China will never be as dominant as the United States once was, but we are really set for a sort of bi-polar century in the Indo-Pacific … more reliant on the whims of both the United States and China,” he said. The details on China’s boosted defense spending come as classified American intelligence reports suggest China intends to establish its first permanent military presence on the Atlantic Ocean in the tiny Central African country of Equatorial Guinea, according to U.S. officials.