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Sub-anchor: Top 15 militaries account for 81% of global spending

03-11-2014 20:49 BJT Special Report: 2014 NPC & CPPCC Sessions |

China's annual military budget figure has generated controversy in some quarters of the world, even though it is still only a fraction of US defense spending. Just how does China's spending compare with other major military powers? For more on that, we are joined in the studio by my colleague Wu Haojun.

Q1: We know China is now the world's second-largest military spender behind the US. But just what does the overall picture look like globally?

Let's get straight down to the brass tacks. According to International Institute for Strategic Studies, the US spent 600.4 billion dollars on its military in 2013. That's just a little short of what the next 14 biggest militaries in the world spent combined. This graph here gives you a good visual sense of just how the biggest defense budgets in the world compare with each other. And analysts say they have observed an increasing concentration of military expenditure. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the 15 countries with the highest military spending now account for over 81 percent of the world's total. Now, back to China military spending this year is budgeted at 808 billion yuan or 131 billion US dollars. While that figure marks a 12.2 percent increase from the previous year, it’s still far short of the 633 billion dollar defense budget approved by the US for 2014. And many experts here in China say the country is only making up for what it has neglected to do in the past.

Q2: This is also the third consecutive year China's defense spending has gone up, that's bound to raise some eyebrows. What are the foreign news media saying about the issue?

Actually, there's a mix of opinions. One commentary on the US-based news site Quartz titled "Why China's new military budget isn't as scary as it looks" points out that as a percentage of GDP, China's military spending is lower than the global average. And in fact, China's spending growth as a percentage of GDP has been declining over the past several years. But the Diplomat offers a different take. In one editorial, the writer says "as China's economic growth has slowed in recent years its defense budgets have continued to grow. The new budget is now the third year in a row in which the defense budget grew faster than the overall economy." Meanwhile, a piece in the Sydney Morning Herald looked at China's motivation for growing its military. It said that China shows no real expansionist tendencies because all of its claims are to territories that it argues were its own to begin with.


Editor:James |Source:

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