06 Maret 2015

PLA Budget to be Raised 10% Despite Slowing GDP Growth

05 Maret 2015

China had a military budget of 808.2 billion yuan (US$128.9 billion) in 2014 and this figure will rise to roughly 889 billion (US$141.8 billion) in 2015 (photo : Militaryphotos)

Fu Ying, spokesperson for China's National People's Congress, has said that a draft budget to be published March 5 will raise China's defense budget by around 10% in response to a question from a Reuters reporter, according to a report on the website of Hong Kong-based Phoenix Media.

China had a military budget of 808.2 billion yuan (US$128.9 billion) last year and this figure will rise to roughly 889 billion (US$141.8 billion) in 2015, 3.6-times the 247.5 billion yuan (US$39.4 billion) in 2005. Although the 10% increase in military spending is less than the 12.2% increase last year, it is sure to keep China in the No. 2 spot in terms of global military spending, according to the website.

In 2010, China's military spending represented 1.3% of the country's GDP, relatively low in comparison with other countries, far lower than the 4% of the US and the average of 2% among Western countries and only slightly higher than Japan's 1%.

Although the target for GDP growth in 2015 is yet to be made public at the upcoming Lianghui, the annual meetings of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, many estimates have put it at around 7%. In 2014 the target was 7.4%, the first time it had dropped to this level since 1990. The continued effort to push up military spending despite shrinking growth in the country shows China's determination to build its military, according to the website.

At the end of 2014 China introduced new regulations governing the distribution of military funds and use of funds over the past two years will also be examined.

Retired major general and China Arms Control and Disarmament Association committee member Xu Guangyu said that the increase in the budget was reasonable, adding that the fall in growth from last year is appropriate given the slow in growth of the larger economy.

China's military budget is divided into three parts: maintenance and upgrade of equipment, military drills and other events and personnel spending, but there has been tension over recent years as all three have been severely underfunded compared to their international counterparts. Xu said that the budget will likely be spilt equally between equipment, events and personnel spending.

Xu said that China needs to increase its budget due to the low levels of spending in relation to its population.

The third session of the 12th NPC will open on March 5.

(Want China Times)

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