China's military spending is purely to safeguard the country's sovereignty, security and interests, and its expenditures are much lower than other global powers by every measure, a military spokesman said.
Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, spokesman for the delegation of the People's Liberation Army and the People's Armed Police Force to the first session of the 14th National People's Congress, said on Monday in Beijing that China sticks firmly to a peaceful development path and its military policies are defensive in nature.
The country is an active participant in the United Nations' mechanism for transparency on military expenditure and has voluntarily provided data on its annual defense costs since 2008, he said.
"Compared with military powers like the United States, our defense spending is much lower by every criterion ranging from its share in the GDP and overall government expenditure to the cost per-capita and per service member. This nation's limited investment in the military is completely for protecting its sovereignty, security and interests," the spokesman said.
The Chinese government proposed a defense budget of 1.55 trillion yuan ($225 billion) for the 2023 fiscal year, a 7.2-percent year-on-year increase, according to a draft budget report submitted to the national legislature on Sunday.
China needs to slightly increase defense spending to meet its needs in several areas, Tan said.
The added investment will be spent on strengthening the armed forces' combat training to improve the integrated national strategic system and capability, speeding up the construction of a modern logistics system, carrying out research and development for major defense technology and weapon systems, deepening and reinforcing the results of military reforms and improving the work and living conditions of military personnel.