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Military spending justified(2)

2014-03-06 11:00 China Daily Web Editor: Wang Fan

The 12.2 percent increase in military budget seems quite large, but the fact is China still lags too far behind developed countries, this increase is necessary for it to improve its national defense construction.

Some Westerners claim China's military budget increase is "unnecessary", while more describe it as a threat to the regional strategic balance; both intentionally ignore the security situation or existence in East Asia. What China pursues is a relative balance with existing powers in the region; it does not pose a threat to others.

The same Western media outlets also blame China for a "lack of transparency" in its military budget. It is ironical that they utter these words while quoting China's openly published military budget. China has published all main military indexes, namely the size of its military forces, spending per person, the quantity and quality of its main equipment, the frequency of its military drills and trainings, which are sufficient for any expert to judge China's military capabilities. So it is ridiculous to say that China lacks military transparency.

China's military budget still lingers at a quite low level compared with regional and global powers. To reach a balance, China will rationally increase its military budget in the coming years to improve per head military expenditure; but that won't change China's firm stance on promoting global arms control and disarmament. China insists on a peaceful rise and continues making contributions to the peace and stability of the region and the world. Its defensive national defense policy remains unchanged.

Some people say China is involved in an arms race, which may cause it to collapse like the former Soviet Union, but such claims are also groundless. China has kept its military budget growth at a level that suits its economic growth. On Wednesday the Government Work Report set the target for GDP growth at 7.5 percent in 2014. In 2013, China's GDP reached 56.9 trillion yuan. Hence this' year's 808.2 billion yuan military budget will not be a heavy burden on the economy.

All in all, certain Western media outlets almost habitually scaremonger about China's "huge" military budget, but they only tell one side of the story and deliberately turn a blind eye to China's low per head military expenditure and its lagging behind developed countries.

The author, Xu Guangyu, is a senior adviser to China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.

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