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Defense budget to see 'modest rise'

[ 2009-03-05 13:53]     字号 [] [] []  
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China plans to increase its defense budget by 14.9 percent this year, slightly down as a share of government expenditure from previous years, the spokesman for the top legislature said yesterday.

The allocation is 480.7 billion yuan ($70 billion), up 62.5 billion yuan from last year, Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the second session of the 11th National People's Congress, told a press briefing.

Defense spending accounts for 6.3 percent of the country's total fiscal expenditure in 2009, Li said. The defense budget rose 17.6 percent year-on-year in 2008. Li said the increased spending is mainly to improve conditions for servicemen, adding that more money would be used to lift their living standards.

Li said the increased budget will also be used to:

Purchase equipment and construct facilities to raise the ability of the military force to defend the country in the information age.

Enhance the military's emergency response capabilities in disaster relief, fight terrorism, maintain stability and other non-warfare military operations.

Reconstruct military facilities damaged in the 8.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Sichuan province on May 12 last year.

Li described the budget growth as "modest", saying that defense expenditure was fairly low compared with other countries, considering the size of China's population and territory.

"China has always been mindful of controlling the size of defense expenditure and setting defense expenditure at a level that ensures the coordinated development of national defense and the economy," Li said.

The United States' defense budget for the fiscal year 2009 is $515 billion, a 7.5 percent rise on the previous year. That does not include multi-billion dollar outlays for Iraq and Afghanistan and some spending on nuclear weapons.

"China's defense expenditure accounted for 1.4 percent of its GDP in 2008. The ratio was 4 percent for the United States, and more than 2 percent for the United Kingdom, France and other countries," Li pointed out.

"China's limited military force is mainly for safeguarding our sovereignty and territory and poses no threat to any other country," he said.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Defense budget to see 'modest rise'

About the broadcaster:

Defense budget to see 'modest rise'Bernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.