China's defense budget growth for 2021 is steady and appropriate after last year's positive economic growth when China broke free from the burden of the COVID-19 outbreak, a Chinese military spokesperson said on Sunday.
China increased its 2021 defense budget by 6.8 percent to over 1.3 trillion yuan ($209 billion), according to a draft budget report issued at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, on Friday.
Wu Qian, spokesperson of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and People's Armed Police Force delegation to the 4th session of the 13th NPC, said in a media interview on Sunday that the Chinese government upholds the policy of coordinated development of national defense and economy by reasonably setting the scale of national defense expenditure.
"In recent years, due to the need to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, implement the military transformation with Chinese characteristics and better fulfill the international responsibilities of a major country, the Chinese government has generally kept a reasonable and steady growth in national defense expenditure amid the continued healthy development of the economy and society, boosting the national defense and economy at the same time," Wu said.
"The increased national defense expenditure will be used to kick off and carry out major projects according to the military development arrangement in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), accelerate the modernization of weapons and equipment, push forward the transformation of military training, build a new-type of military talent cultivation system, enhance training support, as well as improve living conditions and welfare of the troops, in accordance with the development of the economy and society," Wu said.
Wu said that to make a nation great, it must also build a strong army. "Currently, the instability and uncertainty that challenge international security are rising; COVID-19 ravages the world; hegemony, power politics and unilateralism are gaining ground sometimes; there are constant regional conflicts and wars, and the international security system and order are being impacted," said Wu.
He also noted that China is facing risks to its homeland security, which include unresolved territorial disputes, conflicts in insular territories and maritime delimitation, as well as the Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party, who stubbornly insists on Taiwan secessionism, posing the biggest threat to cross-Straits peace and stability.
At the same time, Wu pointed to the high expectations of the international community on China's contribution to public security products. China's participation on UN peacekeeping operations, regular naval escorts and other actions have won praises from the international community. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese military has helped other countries by providing vaccines and sending medical expert teams.
History will prove that the Chinese military will always be a reliable force to maintain world peace. The increase of the defense budget will help to preserve China's security, as well as the safety of international community. For this reason, it is reasonable and undisputable, Wu stressed.