China’s defense spending ‘reasonable’, not a threat: official ahead of budget

Reuters | , Posted by Nisha Anand

China’s defense spending as a share of GDP has remained basically stable for several years with “moderate” and “reasonable” growth, a spokesman for the country’s parliament said on Saturday.

“China’s military modernization will not threaten any country,” Wang Chao, a spokesman for the National People’s Congress, told reporters.

Wang was asked at a news conference how much China’s defense budget would increase this year, and whether any increases would be larger than in previous years.

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He declined to give any figures for this year’s defense budget.

The spending figures will be officially unveiled in the national budget to be released on Sunday at the beginning of this year’s annual sitting of Parliament.

It will be closely watched by China’s neighbors and in Washington as a barometer of how aggressively the country will bolster its military.

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Beijing regularly says that spending for defense purposes is a relatively low percentage of its GDP and critics seek to portray this as a threat to world peace.

China has been rattled by challenges on multiple fronts, from China-held Taiwan to US naval and air missions in the disputed South China Sea near Chinese-held islands and border disputes with India.

China staged war games near Taiwan in August to express anger over the visit of then US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei.

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