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China's military spending is 'low': general
Updated: 2006-03-06 15:45

China's biggest increase in defense spending in four years is "far from enough," a Chinese general said, rebuffing claims by the U.S. that the nation's military buildup goes beyond its needs.

"We believe our military spending is overall on the low side," Lieutenant General Tan Naida, deputy political commissar of the Shenyang Military Region in northern China, said in an interview yesterday. "The U.S. is playing up the China threat theory. This is against the will of everyone around the world. Who can China threaten?"

China on March 4 announced a 14.7 percent increase in its defense budget to 283.8 billion yuan ($35 billion). China has the "greatest potential" to compete militarily with the U.S., the Pentagon said in a strategic review last month.

"In the short term China is not a threat to the U.S.,"said Philip Yang, a professor of politics specializing in defense issues at National Taiwan University. "China is building up militarily, but its policies focus on non-military confrontation. At present, China isn't even a threat to Japan."

China's defense spending is still less than a 10th of the U.S.'s $401.7 billion military expenditures and accounts for 1.36 percent of gross domestic product, compared with 3.6 percent for the U.S., according to figures given by Jiang Enzhu, spokesman for the National People's Congress. The U.K.'s defense budget is $48.8 billion and Japan's $45.3 billion, Jiang said.

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