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China’s Military Budget Determined by ‘Long-Term Plan’, Not Arms Race

China’s Military Budget Determined by ‘Long-Term Plan’, Not Arms Race

China’s Military Budget Determined by ‘Long-Term Plan’, Not Arms Race
March 09
16:04 2017

The growing Chinese military budget is part of a long-term plan, so it is misleading to talk about the beginning of an arms race between Beijing and Washington, expert Wang Xiaofeng of the Shanghai-based Fudan University’s Center for US Studies told reporters.
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In an interview with reporters, expert Wang Xiaofeng of Fudan University’s Center for US Studies described the increase in the Chinese military budget as part of a long-term plan, which is why he said it can’t be characterized as the beginning of an arms race between the US and China.

The interview came after Fu Ying, a spokesperson for China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) said that this year, the country’s defense budget will increase by about seven percent and will amount to 1.3 percent of the GDP.

Commenting on the factors that are driving the planned increase, Fu Ying stressed that it is due to a need to ensure state security and is not a reflection of opposition to other nations.

For his part, Lt. Gen. Wang Hongguang, a retired deputy commander of the former Nanjing Military Command, called for a 12 percent increase in the Chinese defense budget in light of US plans to increase its defense budget by 10 percent.

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“As for expectations pertaining to a significant increase in China’s military budget, this is reflected in the allegations made by a number of Chinese experts and some media outlets. I think that this is only speculation that since the US plans to boost its military spending, China should follow suit.But, in my opinion, this stance is not quite true,” Wang Xiaofeng told reporters.

He recalled that a 7-percent increase in China’s military spending was approved before US President Donald Trump reported a significant boost in his country’s defense budget.

“The growth in China’s military budget is part of a long-term plan, which also stipulates military reform,” Wang said, adding that about 1.5 percent of China’s state budget was being allocated to military spending.

As far as military reforms are concerned, China is significantly reducing army spending on ‘civilian needs’, such as social services and specialist training. Perhaps this is the goal of such transformations, Wang believes.

“Regarding the tense situation in the international arena, I would like to note that according to the Chinese government’s position, we at least hope that we will not have to resort to military force to resolve conflicts,” Wang said.

He stressed that “while China’s military expenditures are aimed at ensuring active self-defense, the US pumps plenty of money into its military sphere to fulfill its strategic goals, leading to [so-called] ‘worldwide victory’.”

The Chinese military budget is the second largest in the world after that of the US. Last year, China’s defense budget reached nearly $146 billion, a 7.6 percent year-on-year increase, its slowest growth rate in six years.

In recent years, Chinese military spending has slowed down due to a downturn in the industrial sector. In 2015, China’s defense budget increased by 10.1 percent against the previous year; in 2013 it increased by 12.2 percent, in 2012 it increased by 11.2 percent and in 2011 it increased by 12.7 percent.

 

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Edward Bokhua

Edward Bokhua

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