China won't take part in arms race

Updated: 2012-02-24 07:08

By Cheng Guangjin (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China will not engage in an arms race with other countries, Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said on Wednesday, stressing that China's military growth is for defensive purposes.

The remarks were made in response to a recent report from IHS Jane's, a global think tank specializing in security issues, which claimed China's defense budget would double by 2015.

Geng questioned the sources of the figures in the report, and said China's defense budget is set in accordance with national security needs and the nation's economic growth level.

"The development of our military capabilities will not exceed our national security needs or economic capacity, and we will not engage in an arms race with other countries," Geng said at the ministry's monthly news conference.

This report is only one of a number published recently that have played up the "China threat".

Earlier this month, Japan's National Institute for Defense Studies released the China Security Report 2011, which said China is strengthening its military power to be able to stand up to the United States in regional resource development, according to the Global Times.

The report predicted that the South China Sea would be a major focus for China, and that the nation would strengthen its military power to ensure the safety of trade routes and its ability to counterbalance the US military, according to the newspaper.

Geng said the report was "making a wild guess" on China's military development and "playing up China's military threats", which "does no good for the development of Sino-Japanese relations or regional peace and stability".

Geng pointed out that Japan's military buildup in recent years has drawn much attention from the international community, especially neighboring countries.

"We hope Japan can draw lessons from history, keep its promise on peaceful development, increase transparency in military development and reflect on its own military policies, instead of pointing figures at others," Geng said.

China's military budget for 2011 rose 12.7 percent to $91.5 billion, accounting for only 1.5 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, in comparison with 4.8 percent in the US and 2.7 percent in the United Kingdom, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

From 1979 to 1989, China's military spending experienced an average annual decline of 5.83 percent, and the proportion of China's military budget in the country's total fiscal budget dropped from 8.66 percent in 1998 to 6.94 percent in 2009, Xinhua reported.

Zhai Dequan, deputy secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said: "China's military spending is in proportion to its large population. If measured by the US standard, our military spending is actually far behind our economic growth."

Geng said the rapid development of science and technology meant that it was normal for countries to upgrade their weaponry and equipment, and China is no exception.

"China's weapon and equipment development is based on its national defense, which doesn't target any particular country or region," said Geng.

In recent years, the Chinese military had participated in many overseas military missions with advanced equipment, which had contributed to world and regional peace and stability, he added.

China's Kunlun Mountain dock landing ship, an amphibious warfare ship with a well deck to transport and launch landing craft and amphibious vehicles, served in escort missions in the waters of the Gulf of Aden off Somalia from July 2010 to February 2011.