Published: Tue, March 06, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

China Announces Largest Military Spending Increase In Three Years

China Announces Largest Military Spending Increase In Three Years

Every year the spokesman of the National People's Congress (NPC) unveils the country's defence budget in terms of percentage.

Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds during the opening session of the annual National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, March 5, 2018.

China spent US$151 billion on the PLA past year, the second largest defence budget in the world but still four times less than the US$603 billion United States outlay, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based think-tank.

In the air, China last month said it had begun equipping combat units with its J-20 stealth fighter jet, the country's answer to fifth-generation jets such as the U.S. F-22 and F-35.

Though China announced its military spending at about United States dollars 150.5 billion, observers say it is considerably higher, considering it is now building two more aircraft carriers in addition to the one already in service as well as addition of new jet fighters, including stealth fighter J-20. Without disclosing any details, Zhang said China's defence input rate is lower than other major countries and China's development will pose no threat to any other country. The figure shown in the budget report apparently excludes the costs for research and development and for purchasing weapons from other countries.

But Andrew Erickson, a professor at the Naval War College's China Maritime Institute in Newport, Rhode Island, said the fact that military spending outpaced economic growth was revealing.

It will join the improved Type 093B Shang class nuclear-powered attack submarine equipped with anti-ship missiles - considered only slightly inferior to the U.S. Navy's mainstay Los Angeles class boats - and the Type 055 guided-missile destroyers at the forefront of China's naval technology.

Infrastructure connectivity building has yielded early harvests, policy communication is going deeper, cooperation mechanisms are being strengthened and collaboration is unfolding across the board, Zhang said.

The increase of China's defence budget by 8.1 per cent this year, is three times higher than India's latest defence budget of about $46 billion.

China's military build-up has unnerved its neighbours, particularly because of its increasing assertiveness in territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas and over Taiwan, a self-ruled territory Beijing claims as its own. In 2016, it grew by 7.6 percent.

China "does not want a trade war with the United States" but will "not sit idly by and watch China's interests being harmed", a senior Chinese official told reporters in Beijing on Sunday.

In an article on its website, China's Defence Ministry cited Chen Zhou, a researcher at the Academy of Military Science, as saying the spending increase was "reasonable" and "sustainable" and that there were no "hidden military funds".

The Spokesperson for first annual session of 13th NPC, Zhang Yesui said China's defense budget takes up a smaller share of its gross domestic product and national fiscal expenditure compared with other major countries.

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