Defense budget true and authentic

Updated: 2007-06-02 10:52

A senior Chinese military official told the sixth Asia Security Summit here Saturday that China's defense budget is true and authentic.

Zhang Qinsheng, Deputy Chief of General Staff of People's Liberation Army of China, made the remarks while speaking at the plenary session of the three-day security summit, also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, after the name of the Singapore hotel at which the event has been held since its launch in 2002.

Lieutenant General Zhang Qinsheng (C), deputy chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China, attends the Keynote Address and Opening Dinner of the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore June 1, 2007.[Reuters]
As the level of Chinese military modernization gradually rises, some raise the question of "military transparency", and voice their suspicion over China's defense budget, so it is necessary to briefly clarify the matter, Zhang said.

"In China, defense budgeting must follow a set of highly strict legal procedures, and the published Chinese defense budget is true and authentic," he said.

He added that the increased proportion of the defense budget is mostly used to make up the retail price rise, improve welfare of the military personnel, and for better logistic support.

"Given the multiple security threats, geo-political environment, the size of the territory, and the per-capita expense, the Chinese defense expenditure is small by all judgments," he added.

Regarding "military transparency", Zhang noted that due to differences in history, culture, social system and ideology, countries naturally disagree on what "transparency" means and how to achieve it.

"The rise of a country's military power is a dynamic process full of changeable factors. It is difficult to be evaluated precisely," he said, adding that "Therefore, it takes time to achieve transparency."

He stressed that "China is gradually making progress in military transparency, in light of the principles of trust, responsibility, security and equality."

The annual Shangri-La Dialogue, organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, opened on Friday. It gathered defense ministers and top officials from 26 countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe to address major regional security issues and defense cooperation.

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