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China's military spending justified: China Daily

China's military expenditure is moderate and Western media's rhetoric of "China's military threat" is groundless and misleading, according to a commentary in Thursday's China Daily.

China's military spend is in line with the country's economic and security conditions, said the commentary signed by Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.

The country plans to raise its defense budget by 12.2 percent to 808.2 billion yuan (about 132 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014, according to a draft budget report submitted to the country's national legislature for review on Wednesday.

China's spending on defense remains quite low compared with regional and global powers, the commentary said.

"To reach a balance, China will rationally increase its military budget in the coming years to improve per-head military expenditure; but that won't change China's firm stance on promoting global arms control and disarmament," it said. "China insists on a peaceful rise and continues making contributions to the peace and stability of the region and the world. Its defensive national defense policy remains unchanged."

The newspaper noted that when describing China's increasing military spending as a threat, Western media never mentions that the government's per-capita expenditure on military personnel, "which is the most important index in judging a nation's defense budget, is low compared with that of the developed countries."

According to the article, China's military spending for each of its 2.3 million members of military personnel is a little more than 57,000 U.S. dollars this year, which is very low compared to the United States, which has about 14.4 million military personnel in service with its per-head military spend standing at more than 365,000 dollars, about six times that of China.

"Even Japan, which claims to own self-defense forces only, has allocated 4.78 trillion yen (46.8 billion dollars) for military spending for the 2014 fiscal year. With about 240,000 self-defense military personnel, Japan's per-head military expenditure stood at about 195,800 dollars," it added.

The article also noted that China's defense expenditure has long been deliberately kept low as the country focused on economic development and that there is no reason to blame China for spending more on improving the training and raising the living standards of servicemen.

"The 12.2-percent increase in military budget seems quite large, but the fact is China still lags too far behind developed countries," it explained.

Moreover, it said, Western journalists' comments labelling China's funding of its military "unnecessary" and a "threat" intentionally ignore the security situation in East Asia.

"What China pursues is a relative balance with existing powers in the region; it does not pose a threat to others," it reiterated.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 06Mar14]

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