The country has no intention of engaging in an arms race, although its
military spending inches up as a result of economic growth, a legislative
official said yesterday.
The State Council, or Chinese
Cabinet, has proposed that the country's 2007 defense budget be increased by
17.8 percent year-on-year. It will be deliberated and approved by the 10th
National People's Congress (NPC), which opens its last session today, NPC
spokesman Jiang Enzhu said.
Spokesman Jiang Enzhu speaks during
the first press conference on the Fifth Session of the Tenth National
People's Congress (NPC) which was held at the Great Hall of the People in
Beijing March 4, 2007. [Xinhua]
During the session, the top legislature will also discuss and decide on
drafts of the property law, the corporate income tax law, and other important
issues, Jiang, also a secretary-general of the meeting, told a press conference
The proposed 350.9 billion yuan ($44.94 billion) defense spending accounts
for 7.5 percent of the year's fiscal expenditure budget, a ratio similar to
previous ones, which ranged between 7.3 percent and 7.7 percent in the 2004-06
period, he said.
The rise in the defense budget will be pooled to improve wages and allowances
of servicemen and army retirees to ensure their income growth matches the
country's economic and social development, Jiang said.
The People's Liberation Army currently has 2.3 million troops, according to
China's latest white paper on national defense.
In addition to improving training and living conditions of the troops, the
planned allocation will be "moderately" earmarked for equipment expenses, and
enhancing the defense and fighting capabilities of the armed forces in wars
based on information technologies.
The country's modernization of its national defense is still at the
mechanization or semi-mechanization stage, according to a report in the Study
Times, a newspaper run by the Party School of the Communist Party of China
"If China does not catch up with the latest military changes in the
information era, its defense capability will be less competitive and its
peaceful development strategy cannot be guaranteed," the report said.
Jiang said the Chinese government decides the size and use of defense
expenditure in line with the principle of "coordinating development of national
defense and the economy".
has expanded in line with economic growth in recent years. This expansion,
however, is compensatory in nature, as actual military spending had dropped by
5.83 percent annually between 1979 and 1989, meaning the country has had a weak
defense foundation to be reinforced.
Despite the expansion, China's defense expenditure in 2005 $30.6 billion was
only 1.35 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), while the United States
and Britain spent 4.03 percent and 2.71 percent of their GDPs for defense, Jiang
"China sticks to a peaceful development path and follows a principle that its
defense policy is defensive in nature," Jiang said.
He stressed that China's national defense provides the guarantee for
maintaining security and unity, and realizing the goal of building a moderately
"China has no ability and does not intend to seek an arms race against any
country," Jaing said. "China will not pose a threat to any country."
(China Daily 03/05/2007 page1)