S. China Sea Tensions Drive Defense $

S. China Sea Tensions Drive Defense $

BEIJING (AP) -- A report from consultancy IHS Janes says growing tensions in the disputed South China Sea will drive up defense spending in the Asia-Pacific region by almost 23 percent by the end of the decade.

The report Thursday said total annual defense spending in the region will rise from $435 billion last year to $533 billion in 2020.

It said that would further a shift in global defense spending away from Western Europe and North America toward emerging markets, especially in Asia.

Tensions have been rising steadily over the South China Sea, driven largely by China's military buildup and more robust assertions of its claim to virtually the entire crucial water body, along with its islands and reefs. Beijing has created new islands and built airfields and other infrastructure on them.