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China has no 'aggressive intentions' despite defense budget rise

2015-03-10 09:29 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

China's defense budget growth is driven by multiple factors and it doesn't indicate that China has "aggressive intentions", a European security expert said in a recent interview.

China announced on Thursday a 10.1-percent rise in its national defense budget in 2015, the lowest growth in five years.[Special coverage]

"China has legitimate interests to defend, and legitimate modernization imperatives, and it is also logical that a growing availability of resources translates into greater military demands," said Bruno Hellendorff, a research fellow of Asia program under the Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security (GRIP).

Bruno said the fact that the military budget growth represents indeed a rise in China, "but not indicative in itself of aggressive intentions."

In his view, many factors have resulted in the growing investment into China's military. They include economic growth, subsidization of reforms, hardware modernization, professionalization, and structure reorganization.

He also said China's rising international status and profile means it needs greater military resources.

"China's rising responsibilities on the international stage therefore modify the operational requirements of its armed forces. These, in turn, demand that the People's Liberation Army(PLA) commit greater resources toward specific needs and competences," the expert said.

China is the largest personnel contributor to UN peace-keeping missions among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. "In order to effectively pursue missions related to anti-piracy, peacekeeping, medical support, etc., the PLA needs to invest in critical capabilities," Bruno said.

China's commitment to maintaining peace and developing peacefully are welcome, Bruno noted, adding the international community considers such commitment good news for global stability.

He considered the focus on China's official military budget and its evolution is somehow misleading. "To me, the institutional and organizational reforms that are now ongoing in China's security environment are more meaningful than overall budgets in addressing China's national defense needs, even if the two are linked," he added.

China's defense budget rose by 12.2 percent last year to 808.2 billion yuan (129 billion U.S. dollars).

The figure of 10.1-percent rise will put the world's second largest economy's defense spending at some 890 billion yuan. The U.S. military spending amounted to 660.4 billion dollars in 2013. ( 1 U.S. dollar = 6.27 yuan)

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