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.