The 13th National People's Congress, the top legislature, holds a news conference in Beijing on March 4, 2019. [Photo by Kuang Linhua/chinadaily.com.cn]
China's defense expenditure is for the protection of the nation's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and does not pose any threat to other countries, according to Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the second session of the 13th National People's Congress.
Zhang said at a news conference on Monday in Beijing that China always sticks to the path of peaceful development and follows policies that are purely defensive in nature.
"To judge whether a country poses threat to other nations, the key lies in its foreign and defense policies rather than the increase in its defense budget," he said.
He made the remarks in response to a question on China's perspective change to its defense budget this year.
Zhang said a reasonable and moderate rise in military expenditure is to meet the need of safeguarding national security and facilitating military reform with Chinese characteristics.
"Starting in 2016, the increases in our defense budget have been staying inside single digits each year, as opposed to double-digit rises in the five consecutive years before that year," the spokesman said. "Compared with other countries, our defense spending in 2018 accounted for about 1.3 percent of our GDP for that year, while some developed nations maintained a 2-plus percent proportion."
China raised its defense budget by 8.1 percent in the fiscal year of 2018.