China Upholds Its Military Budget Rise, Rejects ‘Usual Suspects’ Finger-Pointing
AP Photo/ Pang Xinglei/XinhuaAsia & Pacific18:11 06.03.2018Get short URL3121
Beijing’s announcement of an 8.1 percent rise in defense spending for 2018 has already alarmed the US and China’s immediate neighbors, including Japan and self-ruled Taiwan.
Commenting on the reaction to Chinese authorities’ plans to increase the country’s military spending in 2018, the state-run China Daily reported “finger-pointing from the usual suspects” and at the same time recalled that “China’s military lags well behind other major countries.”
“China’s defense budget is neither the largest in size — it accounts for just one-fourth of the military spending of the United States — nor does it have the fastest growth rate,” the newspaper pointed out.
AP Photo/ Li Tao/XinhuaIn this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping stands on a military jeep as he inspects troops of the People’s Liberation Army during a military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the PLA at Zhurihe training base in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Sunday, July 30, 2017
It justified the rise in defense spending by China’s “maritime interests being increasingly infringed upon in recent years.”
“Thus seeking a stronger military is natural for it [China] to safeguard its interests and counter any threat that may materialize from the aggressive posturing of others upset by its rise,” the China Daily stressed.
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It was echoed by the Global Times, which praised Beijing for avoiding an arms race with the United States which the Chinese newspaper claimed would led to a substantial increase in China’s defense spending.
“China has obviously not fallen into the mind-set of engaging in an arms race with the US. Otherwise it could totally realize double-digit increases in its defense expenditure,” the newspaper underscored.
It ascribed the rise in the country’s military budget to tensions in the South China Sea and plans by the US, Japan, Australia and India to form alliances.
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According to the Global Times, “Beijing has stuck to its own template and was not disturbed by external factors.”
Meanwhile, Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet, has expressed concern over a hike in China’s military budget which he said should be more transparent.
“These investments and commitment need to be taken with full transparency,” Swift noted, adding that Beijing’s “intent is not clearly understood.”
On March 5, the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that the country’s military budget would grow by 8.1 percent, up to 1.11 trillion yuan [$175 billion] in 2018.