BEIJING, March 6 (ChinaMil) -- China would raise its defense budget by 10.1 per cent to 886.898 billion yuan in 2015. This marks the fifth consecutive year with an increase in military spending. But the growth rate is the lowest within five years.
Where China's growing budget is going has become one of the most concerned topics of the world. To find the answers, our reporter has interviewed many military experts. The following are their answers.
To improve conditions for servicemen
According to the white paper on national defense, the most authoritative interpretation, the military budget of China mainly includes three portions, namely the personnel's living expenditure, cost for training and exercise, and cost for armament and equipment.
Peng Guangqian, deputy secretary general of the China National Security Forum, told the reporter that the three portions of the defense spending should have increased at the same pace. We tend to focus on the growth of armament and equipment cost. "The armament and equipment expenditure should be a priority in every country," Peng noted.
According to sources, the three integral parts of the defense spending have all increased indeed. At the end of 2014, the salaries of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Chinese People's Armed Police Force were increased.
On the improvement of servicemen' condition, Yang Yujun, spokesman of China's Ministry of National Defense, explained that China's armed forces should be a strong pillar in safeguarding national sovereignty and security and ensuring the country's development interests. Keeping servicemen’s salaries in a proper range will ensure their family a comfortable life and motivate them to fulfill their duties.
"The pay to servicemen should be raised to keep up with the social development. Previously, the servicemen's salaries increased slowly compared with the rapid growth of social economy. The gap should be narrowed now." Peng said.
Increasing needs of military trainings leads to rising cost
In the context of actual-combat training carried out by the PLA, the military training costs have been constantly growing.
The reporter noted that the PLA concluded 40 key military exercises in 2013. And over 200 exercises above division and brigade levels were held in 2014. In addition, bilateral and multilateral joint military drills/exercises have nearly doubled, increasing from 17 in 2013 to 31 in 2014.
The number of military exercises in 2015 will be revealed at the end of the year. Considering the expanded scale of exercises this year, relevant military spending will grow to support the multiple military exercises.
Increase of armament and equipment cost is a universal trend
The most notable part of the defense budget is armament and equipment cost. Developing investment in armament and equipment is a universal practice and trend in every country, according to Peng.
Peng analyzed that as the modernization of equipment, the cost is growing. The prices of aircraft, vessels and tanks range from tens of million yuan to hundreds of million yuan. China’s new type naval vessels and fighters need financial support.
Bearing more international responsibilities also leads to rising cost
The international community's more rational attitude toward the growth of China's defense budget is a reward for China bearing more international responsibilities. The achievements should be partly attributed to the defense spending.
Taking the Chinese navy's escort missions in the Gulf of Aden as an example, the average fuel fee is 7,000 yuan per ton, so a three-to-four-month escort mission will cost 1,000 tons of fuel at least, or about seven to eight million yuan, according to a military source.
As a result, to support an escort mission in a long period, only one warship will spend an average of 30 million yuan annually and the pay for other goods and employees is not included.
The climbing defense spending matches China's increasing international responsibilities. In order to fulfill the international duties and commitments, China needs to modernize its military equipments and use advanced technologies.