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China: defense spending rise is appropriate

03-11-2014 20:29 BJT Special Report: 2014 NPC & CPPCC Sessions |

China is planning to raise its defense budget by 12.2 percent to over 800 billion yuan, or some 130 billion US dollars this year. Two goals are more advanced weaponry and stronger coastal and air defenses. The increase follows a nearly unbroken run of double-digit hikes for the past two decades. Our reporter Han Bin interviewed military experts who say China’s military spending is moderate and in line with the country's security needs.

Searching for the missing Malaysia passenger plane.

China's military has dispatched warships to the South China Sea. Emergency preparedness, disaster relief, joint military drills, anti-terrorism, and peace missions ---- all these operations are funded by the defense budget.

"The budget increase is to meet the country's new requirements for security and threats. The army is also in the process of military transformation to modernization," said Major General Chen Zhou, PLA Academy of Military Science.

Chinese military experts argue that PLA's overall spending remains low. They point out it's lower in proportion relative to GDP, than in many other countries. They say the increase is necessary as China is under increasing strategic pressure from the sea and air.

"China has always been pursuing a coordinated development between its national defense and economic development. The scale of the defense budget is purely determined by the requirement of its national security," said Geng Yansheng, spokesman of Ministry of National Defense.

The growing military spending has raised concerns and criticism abroad. The Foreign Ministry's response was pointed.

"China's military is not made up of 'boy scouts with spears'. Some foreigners always expect China to be a baby scout. In that way, how can we safeguard national security and world peace?" said Qin Gang, Foreign Ministry Spokesman.

The 2014 defense budget is the first for Xi Jinping as head of the military. The increase appears to reflect his desire to build what he calls a strong and rejuvenated China.

At the opening of the annual session of the congress, Premier Li Keqiang said the government would "strengthen research on national defense and the development of new- and high-technology weapons and enhance border, coastal and air defenses."

And the budget has to cover living expenses of service personnel, training and research, and equipment and maintenance.

"China faces both conventional and non-conventional security threats. Protecting overseas interests and territorial and maritime integrity, have all asked the country to raise its defense budget," said Chen Zhou.

The PLA is undergoing deep changes, looking to focus more on quality. More advanced weaponry is a given. But experts say it could be decades before China’s military is a match for the most advanced in the world.

China's military spending has long been cited as a cause for concern by many western countries. Some even criticized China as being a threat to the region. But China says that peace could only be safeguarded through strength. No doubt, along with its economic development, the country's military spending will continue to rise in the future.



Editor:James |Source:

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