Female officers from the air force,
army and navy wearing their new 2007 style uniforms to celebrate the PLA's
80th anniversary.[Yuan Xuejun]
China will increase defense spending progressively and commensurate with the
growing economy, President Hu Jintao said yesterday.
"We will gradually increase input in national defense as the economy grows,
and continue to modernize national defense and the armed forces in a way that
serves the interests of our national security and development," said Hu, also
chairman of the Central Military Commission.
was speaking at a grand rally marking the 80th anniversary of the founding of
the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) at the Great Hall of the People in
In March, the Chinese legislature approved the national defense budget for
the 2007 fiscal year, which reached $44.94 billion, an annual increase of 17.8
The modernization of national defense and armed forces "is the historical
mission of the PLA and the common cause of the Chinese people of all ethnic
groups", said the president.
"Economic growth is the basis for enhancing defense capability, which is, in
turn, an important indicator of overall national strength," Hu told an audience
of hundreds of soldiers of all ranks, military retirees and civilian leaders.
The president also called for more efforts to accelerate the upgrading of
defense-related science, technology and weaponry; and to boost the capacity for
He urged committees of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and governments at
all levels to support the strengthening of military capability.
The president stressed that while adhering to the defensive nature of the
country's military, China must build a "slim but strong" armed forces by
striking a sound balance between speed, quality and efficiency in the
modernization drive of the country's 2.3 million troops.
"The world is experiencing profound transformation, and China should be alert
to potential risks," he said. "The international situation is generally stable,
but the world is not all peaceful."
Hu also stressed the PLA's loyalty to the CPC.
"To follow the CPC's command is the overriding political requirement that the
Party and Chinese people have placed on the PLA and is the unshakable and
fundamental principle for the PLA," said the president.
"Only by putting itself under the CPC leadership has the PLA been able to
stay on the right course politically and maintained its strong cohesion and
combat effectiveness as well as its vigor and vitality," he said.
The president acknowledged that the PLA has grown in strength and become more
modernized and professional through eight decades of development
The PLA is "no longer a small, single-service force, but a strong and
multiple-service force," which has made progress in modernization and is
stepping toward an information technology-based army, Hu said.
"By putting in place a comprehensive scientific, technological and industrial
structure for national defense, the PLA is increasingly better positioned to
defend the nation," he said.
"All these have strengthened the PLA's capability to better perform its
mission and provided a solid foundation for the basic realization of defense and
military modernization," he said.
The president also spoke highly of the historic contributions the PLA has
made to the country and the people since its founding.
In the past 80 years, the PLA has, under the CPC's
leadership, fought courageously in fulfilling its mission and made indelible
historic contributions to China's liberation cause, socialist construction and
reform drives as well as in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and
territorial integrity, Hu said.