BEIJING, March 5 (ChinaMil) -- China will raise its defense budget by around 10 percent in 2015, similar to what the Central Government recommended, said Fu Ying when answering the question by Reuters reporter about “whether China will increase military expenditure” at the news conference of the Third Session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) on the afternoon of March 4, 2014.
Major General Xu Guangyu, senior consultant to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association (CACDA), said in an interview that the increase in military spending this year is basically reasonable.
First, with an around 10-percent increase, the military budget this year is about 900 billion yuan, or $145 billion, 1.4 percent of China’s GDP. This is below the world average and very low compared to other major countries in the world.
China’s GDP growth rate this year is expected to be around 7 percent and China’s increase in military budget is in line with its GDP growth. Generally speaking, it is very reasonable.
Second, China's per capita military spending remains at a low level. China’s military budget in 2014 is $129.4 billion, i.e., about $57,000/soldier if divided among the 2.3 million officers and soldiers. By contrast, the per capita military spending of Japan’s Self-Defense Force (SDF) reached $210,000 while that of the U.S. troops reached $430,000.
As we can see, China's military spending is still at a relatively low level. The 10-percent increase is very normal compared with its GDP growth.
In fact, the current military spending is still very insufficient and cannot fully meet the needs of China's national defense.
China’s military spending has three components: equipment maintenance and updates, activities including exercises and peacekeeping missions, and personnel expenses. The spending in these three areas is still low and China's military spending is still inadequate. This situation may continue for a long time before it is truly improved.
Compared with the 12.2-percent growth last year, the military spending growth has actually decreased this year. Major General Xu Guangyu said that this is in line with the objective development requirements, since military spending increase should stay in concert with economic growth.
The GDP growth this year is forecast at around 6.8 to 7 percent, which means the economic growth in 2015 will be slowing down, and consequently, China's military growth should slow down accordingly.
Xu Guangyu believed that this year’s military spending will still be mainly used in the above-mentioned three areas, namely equipment, activities and personnel.
In accordance with the past practice, the updating and maintenance of equipment usually accounted for one-third of the military spending. This year, it should remain the same, which is around $40 billion. It is slightly lower than that in 2014.
The United States frequently picks on Chinese military spending, saying that China's military spending grows too fast. Xu Guangyu said it is natural for China’s military spending to grow fast because the base is so small.
We cannot look at the absolute value of China's military spending. China ranks the world's No 2 in terms of military spending, but China's per capita military spending is rather low. The level of $57,000 per capita is very low in the world and it is even less than one quarter of that of Japan’s SDF. The foreign media is ignoring some objective facts but only bring up the data to their own interests.