China's limited defense spending aims to safeguard sovereignty, security and devt interests: spokesperson

By Liu Xuanzun (Global Times) 09:45, March 07, 2023

An anti-submarine patrol aircraft attached to a naval aviation regiment under the PLA Southern Theater Command takes off for a recent training exercise, which aims to hone the skills and combat capabilities of the troops. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Qin Qianjiang)

China's limited national defense spending is completely set to safeguard national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, a military delegation spokesperson said at the ongoing two sessions on Monday, after the country announced its plan to raise the defense budget by 7.2 percent in 2023.

Foreign media should look at their own countries' military expansions before hyping the "China threat" theory, analysts said.

Tan Kefei, a spokesperson of the People's Liberation Army and People's Armed Police delegation to the first session of the 14th National People's Congress, made the remarks when asked by a journalist about this year's defense budget arrangement amid a changing world, in which instability and uncertainty are significantly increasing and countries including the US have greatly hiked their military budgets.

The Chinese government adheres to the policy of coordinated development of national defense development and economic development, and it reasonably sets the scale of defense expenditure based on the needs of national defense and the development level of the national economy, Tan said.

In recent years, China has maintained moderate increases of its defense spending as its economy kept a healthy development, promoting the simultaneous improvement of national defense and economic strength, the spokesperson said.

The increased defense spending will be used to comprehensively enhance military training and combat preparedness, consolidate the integrated national strategic system and capabilities, Tan said.

It will also be allocated to speed up the development of modern logistics, carry out major projects in national defense technology and weaponry, as well as accelerate the conversion of technology toward combat capability, he said.

In addition to consolidating and expanding the results of national defense and military reform, the defense expenditure will also improve the work, training and living conditions of the troops, adapting to the level of the country's economic and social development, Tan said.

China adheres to a path of peaceful development, pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, and participates in the UN's military expenditure transparency system by submitting annual reports for the previous fiscal year since 2008, the spokesperson said.

Foreign media like the Financial Times on Sunday claimed that China's military budget outpaces other spending in shift to security.

Compared with major military powers like the US, China's defense expenditure is relatively low in terms of the proportion of GDP, proportion of national fiscal expenditure, per capita and per military personnel, Tan said.

Observers said that China's defense budget has been kept less than 1.5 percent in recent years despite the world's average being 2 percent, not to mention the US' figure that nears 4 percent.

Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military expert, told the Global Times that China kept a low defense spending and focused on economic development before the start of the 21st Century.

To ensure China has a national defense that can safeguard the fruits of its economic development, it is reasonable to increase military budget now and make up for what was lost, Fu said.

China still has a lot of room to increase its military expenditure, but it chose not to because it is a responsible major country, analysts said.

Foreign media should not hype the "China threat" theory with the excuse of the country's defense budget, instead they should look at their own countries' growing military expenditures as well as aggressive military expansions, observers said.

(Web editor: Liang Jun, Hongyu)


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