China announces surprisingly slower military budget increase

China's President Hu Jintao (2nd row, 2nd L), China's Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping (2nd row, 3rd L), China's Premier Wen Jiabao (2nd row, 3rd R), China's Vice-Premier Li Keqiang (2nd row, 2nd R) and other top leaders and delegates sing the national anthem during the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 3, 2013

China’s President Hu Jintao (2nd row, 2nd L), China’s Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping (2nd row, 3rd L), China’s Premier Wen Jiabao (2nd row, 3rd R), China’s Vice-Premier Li Keqiang (2nd row, 2nd R) and other top leaders and delegates sing the national anthem during the opening ceremony of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 3, 2013

Reuters says in its report today titled “China boosts defence budget by 10.7 percent for 2013, “China will raise military spending by 10.7 percent this year to 740.6 billion yuan ($119 billion), the government announced on Tuesday, adding to a nearly unbroken series of double-digit increases in the defence budget over two decades.”

The surprising figure give readers impression of China’ super efficiency in its military spending.

China is developing its GPS system, two stealth fighters, a huge transport aircraft, carrier-based fighter jets, a new generation of early warning aircrafts, nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, ICBM interception missiles and anti-aircraft carrier missiles.

It will spend $16 billion in developing aircraft engines and is building type 052D Aegis destroyers and type 056 advanced frigates at neck-breaking speed. According to mil.huanqiu.com, a few shipbuilding enterprises are turning out one type 056 frigate a month.

China is carrying out research activities and producing military hardware in a scale similar to the United States’ but is able to spend only a fraction of what the US spends. How wonderful!

In my post “Tremendous increase in China’s military spending amid territorial rows” on March 2, I mentioned the different way of calculation of China’s military spending and the substantial discount it enjoyed in its weapon development and purchase from its state-owned weapon developers and producers. That may reduce the amount of spending substantially, but not so much as to $119 billion.

Reuters says in its report, “Beijing’s public budget is widely thought by foreign experts to undercount its real spending on military modernisation.” I believe so.

In my post, I said: What is China’s priority now? It will not be bullied by other countries in the future. That is the major part of what Xi Jinping refers to as the China dream–the renewal of the Chinese nation.

How much China will spend for that dream? As much as it can afford.

How much of the real spending China will make public? As long as the amount is acceptable to domestic and international public opinions. That will certainly not be the real amount.

I expected that the budgeted amount would have been much larger as China wants to satisfy its people’s surging nationalism and project the image of a military hardliner in the maritime territorial disputes with its neighbours.

The understated figure is at least good in showing China’s intention to continue to pursue a peaceful rise and maintain peaceful relations with its neighbours.

Source: Reuters – “China hikes defense budget, to spend more on internal security”
 


Categories: Defence & Aerospace

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Trackbacks

  1. CHINA: BEFORE THE OPEN, 06Mar2013 | Headline Asia
  2. China’s inner circle: The three black boxes | China Daily Mail

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