Military Experts: Why China Increases Defense Spending
(Source: Chinese Ministry of Defense; issued March-12, 2013)
Fu Ying, spokeswoman of the First Session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC), told reporters from Reuters at noon of March 4, 2013 that China adheres to a national defense policy of peaceful development. She emphasized that China’s move to strengthen its national defense is only for protecting itself and safeguarding peace and security, rather than threatening other countries.

Chen Zhou, PLA deputy to the NPC and researcher of the War Theories and Strategic Studies Department of the Academy of Military Sciences (AMS) of the PLA, believes that China sustains a reasonable increase of defense spending mainly due to the demand of national security as well as the need of defense and army building. According to Chen Zhou, the increase is attributable to two reasons: first, the need of national defense; second, the coordination of national defense building with economic development.

As regards the demand of national security, China’s security environment is very complicated, facing challenges in survival security, safeguarding state sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity, etc. To safeguard national security, China needs to pay attention not only to such traditional domains as land, sea and air but also to non-traditional ones like the deep sea, outer space and cyberspace. To safeguard the new security domains needs new military power, and needs to build up consolidated national defense and powerful military.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China needs to make greater contributions to maintaining world peace and fulfilling its international responsibilities and obligations. For example, Chinese military has actively participated in various international peacekeeping operations, international relief efforts, joint military exercises and international escorts to combat nontraditional security threats and global challenges in recent years.

The Chinese government has always upheld the principle of coordinated development of national defense building and economic development. Ten years ago, the national defense building was second to economic development and the spending in the national defense building even witnessed negative growth. Nowadays, as the economy develops, it is natural that China increases its aggregate military spending in a reasonable manner.

When it comes to the transparency of military spending, Yin Zhuo, member of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and director of the Informatization Experts Committee of the Navy of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), held that China’s defense spending is properly transparent since it publicizes the information every year during the two sessions. Different countries compute military spending in different ways and publicize their military spending to different extents, but none can be said to have achieved absolute transparency. The most important thing is that China unswervingly holds and practices the defense policy defensive in nature as an important force in safeguarding world peace.

Background information (from Xinhua):

Newly increased defense expenditure is to be spent in four aspects

The reporter learnt from the related organ of the general headquarters/departments of the PLA that this year’s newly added defense budget is to be spent mainly in four aspects:

First, adequately increase input in constructing hi-tech weaponry and equipment as well as supporting facilities to promote the scientific development of national defense and army building and accelerate the transformation of the combat power generation mode.

Second, promote construction of logistics infrastructure of troop units to improve the working and living conditions of officers and men.

Third, adjust the maintenance spending of troop units to align with the socio-economic development of the country and mitigate the pressure caused by rising prices.

Fourth, step up capacity building of non-battle military operations like anti-terrorism, stability safeguarding and disaster relief, and improve the troop units’ ability to deal with various security threats and accomplish diversified military tasks.

The budget proposal submitted for deliberation to the First Session of the 12th NPC shows that China’s defense budget in 2013 will be 720 billion RMB ($ 116 billion), a year-on-year increase of 10.7%.

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