VARIOUS: China announces a 10.7 per cent rise in its defence budget, as the country is embroiled in territorial...
- Title: VARIOUS: China announces a 10.7 per cent rise in its defence budget, as the country is embroiled in territorial disputes with its neighbours
- Date: 5th March 2013
- Summary: HEADLINE IN UNITED DAILY NEWS READS: NPC OPENS TODAY
- Reuters ID: LVA887NCGTECI67GK1017MR0M5PH
- Location: At Sea, China
- Country: China At Sea
- Duration: 00:00:05
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: Conflict,Defence / Military
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- Story Text: China will raise military spending by 10.7 percent this year to 119 billion U.S. dollars (740.6 billion yuan), the government announced on Tuesday (March 5), adding to a nearly unbroken series of double-digit increases in the defence budget over two decades.
The government also announced that the domestic security budget would rise 8.7 percent to 769.1 billion yuan, the third year in a row it will outstrip defence spending.
"We should accelerate the modernisation of national defence and the armed forces so as to strengthen China's defence and military capabilities. We should resolutely uphold China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and ensure its peaceful development," Premier Wen Jiabao said in remarks prepared for delivery ahead of the start of China's annual meeting of parliament.
The increase announced in the national budget is at a slightly slower pace than last year's 11.2 percent rise.
Beijing's public budget is widely thought by foreign experts to undercount its real spending on military modernisation, which has unnerved Asian neighbours and drawn repeated calls from Washington for China to share more about its intentions.
"It's a reaction to the United States's rebalancing strategy. It's aiming at the recent dispute over islands at the East and South China Sea, and also China needs to boost its force projection capability, so all of these, including other expenses like increased benefits for military personnel," said Alex Huang, professor of strategy and war gaming at Taiwan's Tamkang University.
China has repeatedly said the world has nothing to fear from its military spending which is needed for legitimate defensive purposes, and that the money spent on the People's Liberation Army pales in comparison with the Pentagon's outlays.
Asian neighbours, however, have been nervous about Beijing's expanding military, and this latest double-digit rise could reinforce disquiet in Japan, India, Southeast Asia and self-ruled Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory.
"So in a sense we wanted to understand that it's a legitimate increase for its expanding military role, however for other countries in the region it's quite alarming that China's continuing a defense budget increase and military capability will definitely be a threat to regional countries," Huang added.
Japan and China have locked horns over islands each claims in the East China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines and other nations have challenged Beijing over claims to swathes of the South China Sea that could be rich in oil and gas.
Over the past six months, China's stand-off with Japan over a series of uninhabited rocky islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China has become more acrimonious.
China has advertised its long-term military ambitions with shows of new hardware, including its first test flight of a stealth fighter jet in early 2011 and its launch of a fledgling aircraft carrier - both trials of technologies needing years more of development.
Beijing is also building new submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles as part of its naval modernisation.
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- Embargoed:20th March 2013 12:00