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China Announces 7.6-pct Defense Budget Rise, Lowest in Six Years
   2016-03-05 20:36:00    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guo Yan

China has annouced its smallest increase in defense spending of the last six years, in the face of rising economic headwinds and personnel cuts in the armed forces.

Officials from the top legislature have stressed that China must improve national defense to enhance security and fulfill the country's obligations.

 

According to the budget report delivered at the national legislature annual session, Beijing plans to raise the 2016 defense budget by 7.6 percent to 954 billion yuan, or about 146 billion U.S. dollars.

Chen Zhou is a deputy to the top legislature, and an expert on national defense policy and military strategy.

He says that though the rate hike between 7 and 8 percent would be China's lowest increase for defense spending in six years,

But he stresses that increased defense spending must be a priority.

"No matter for the sake of security, for the need to meet the challenges of military reform, or for the need to deepen the reform and fulfill our obligations, we must unswervingly increase our national defense capabilities continuously, so as to accelerate our technological innovation and breakthrough and to accelerate our building of an elite combat force and promote our army's transformation from quantity-orientation to a focus on quality and efficiency."

He says the development of China's national defense must be coordinated with the development of the economy.

"Our country should determine the scale of its defense budget, which should adhere to the principle of coordinated development of defense and economy. It should also comply with the need of national defense and the level of the country's economic development."

Chen says China's defense budget has accounted for an average of 1.3 percent of the country's GDP in the past decade, which is significantly lower than the world average figure of 2.6 percent.

Last year, China's defense spending amounted to only 24 percent of that in the United States.

Chen says compared with other world powers, China's defense budget is rather low no matter if you look at it in terms of its proportion to GDP, or in terms of civilian per capita or military per capita defense fees."

Military experts say the cut of 300,000 service people announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September might also have helped drive down the defense budget growth figure.

National People's Congress spokesperson Fu Ying said earlier that China's troops will faithfully perform their sacred duty to the people.

"Talking about the troops, President Xi Jinping said during the Sept. 3 military parade that, 'The People's Liberation Army of China will faithfully perform its sacred duty of safeguarding national security and the peaceful life of the people, and loyally carry out its holy mission of maintaining world peace.' Currently, we are carrying out a 'military reform' - that is reforms of the defense system and the forces. This is also in a bid to better realize such goals."

Premier Li Keqiang said in the annual government work report that China will make its military more revolutionary, modern, and better structured.

Li said the military works meticulously to ensure combat readiness and control of border, coastal and air defenses.

The premier says logistics and equipment development will be stepped up and the military's size and structure will undergo reforms.

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