News / Asia

Amid Regional Worries, China Plans 12 Percent Boost in Defense Spending

China Plans 12 Percent Boost in Defense Spendingi
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March 05, 2014 3:38 PM
China expects to see stable growth economic growth and plans to boost defense spending by 12 percent this year. At the opening of the National People's Congress in Beijing, the country announced it would spend more than $130 billion on national defense. VOA's Bill Ide reports from Beijing.
William Ide
China plans to boost defense spending to $130 billion, a 12 percent increase.

At the opening of the National People's Congress in Beijing Wednesday, a major political meeting, officials also said they expect the economy to continue to see stable growth of around 7.5 percent this year.

China's leaders say they faced tough challenges in 2013 including a slowing global economy, fluctuating exports, and natural disasters. Premier Li Keqiang says risks and hidden dangers remain for the world's second largest economy.

"There are still many problems people are unhappy with," Li said. "Serious and industrial accidents occur frequently. The social safety net needs strengthening and problems of corruption crop up time and time again."

Li attributes some of the some problems to China's status as a developing country, but acknowledges the government could do a better job.

Last year, China's leaders spoke at length about corruption. This year at the annual meeting, they talked about the need for transparency of budgets.

"Governments at all levels should release their budgets and final accounts to the public, and budgets released by government bodies should progressively include details down to itemized expenses," said Li. "Public spending on official overseas visits, official vehicles, and official hospitality should be made public to ensure transparency and make it easy for people to understand and oversee it."

China's National People's Congress meets once a year to discuss legislation, outline policy direction for the year ahead and approve budgets, including increased defense spending.

"Last year, we made solid progress in strengthening national defense," Li said. "The armed forces and armed police force are full of new vigor and have enhanced capabilities. This year, we will comprehensively enhance the revolutionary nature of the Chinese armed forces, further modernize them and upgrade their performance and continue to raise their deterrence and combat capabilities in the information age."

For years, China's military spending has been expanding at a double-digit pace but the officially disclosed figures show it's still one-sixth the size of the Pentagon's budget.

Even so, Beijing's rapid growth in military spending has increasingly been a point of concern in the region, especially as the country has become more assertive of its territorial claims on land and at sea.

Li says China will strengthen its research and development of new and high-tech weapons technology and equipment. He also says China will resolutely uphold its maritime rights and interests and build China into a maritime power.

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by: Frank from: O.County, USA
March 09, 2014 5:37 AM
What a funny country PRC is! Its nationals are very poor. PRC must change its policy of spending money from wasteful military expansion to domestic affairs such as solving problems of air pollution, poisonous drinking water, toxic food,leaders's corruption, shadow banking leading to explosion of PRC's bubble economy, and other countless evil matters.
In Response

by: Matthew from: PRC
April 01, 2014 10:20 AM
These problems really exist, but the political system is not easy to be changed in the short run, think back to the WW1,as a victorious nation,China unexpectedly has to cede territory to Japan ! Where's the fair ? "Nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. Only permanent interests",Henry John Temple said.You said that you won't attack us,who believe you? When we reduce like Afghan or Iraq, who can hear us?

by: Nelson from: China
March 06, 2014 8:03 AM
It's interesting, China is so dangerous, this nation did not wage wars against other countries for decades, while for the US, wars never ending and ruin many countries and their people.

by: BlueEyedRonin from: Hawaii
March 06, 2014 1:29 AM
With China's increased spending on the sole purpose of "defending" its territory.... disputes or not.... creates a situation that is unfortunately dire...

Read my blog @ http://bit.ly/1cCZQ5O

by: Mort Young from: New York
March 05, 2014 5:25 PM
I have read the forum rules and object (mildly) to relying on the VoA to declare whether my coming comment, is totally innocent of any attempt to disturb any reader of comments.
So, my comment:
Upping the funding of the PLA by 12% does not necessarily mean providing 12% more money for military needs.
The usual corruption will take at least 2% of that 12%. I like and admire the Chinese, in spite of that, but what exists exists.
Further, the rationale behind the increased funding is political, not military; it is a cautionary threat that the government will not carry out. China has too many problems to go to war. It is only saying "Boo!"
Although the youths of the nation have been taught that the West has insulted, historically, China, the war against the West, against Japan, against the Philippines, etc., will only occur when the government of China is threatened with being overthrown.
That is the key to war by China, just as the key to war by the United States has been locked up for the present, by a population that has had enough of nonsensical wars to last at least a lifetime.

by: GKoh from: Pacific rim
March 05, 2014 12:35 PM
Enhancing the Revolutionary nature of the military this year, could be interpreted in different ways?

Anyway, regarding PRC's double digit annual defense budget growth for years now, it could be seen as a bit arrogant and hypocritical of all it's hysteria over Japan's recently announced 5% increase spread out over the next 5 years.

Regardless, there must be a concerted push for a summit of Pac Rim countries, including US, to discuss the need to reduce militarization in general and commit to reducing a new arms race. It must be further discussed how to de-escalate the tensions created by many countries pursuing security and core interests which overlap and conflict with one another. Simply, every country has impassioned beliefs about what is entitled and owned, vis-a-vis it's respective core interests, but there must be compromise, desire to make shared understanding and respect to reduce such conflicting views and tensions. Not unilaterally pursuing absolutist, domineering policies which will only create more mistrust and tension.
In Response

by: carlos from: mississauga
March 05, 2014 4:56 PM
Why are we buying staff from these people??
they make money and they just want to spend it in weapons to use it I guess so this is the investor irresponsibility and greedness that is turn ing this world into caos.

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