China's Defense Budget Increase to be mainly used for New Weapons Development

The Ministry of Finance of the People's Republic of China (PRC) published the report on the central and local budget draft for 2018 at the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) on March 5, 2018. The report showed that in the general public expenditure of the central government the national defense budget increased by 8.1% to 1.11 trillion yuan ($175 billion).

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SY400/BP-12A launch vehicle seen at Zhuhai Air Show 2016

"The increase in China's national defense budget will mainly be used to develop new weapons and equipment, improve training conditions, and guarantee military reform and benefits for officers and other personnel," said Major General Chen Zhou, a researcher with the Chinese PLA Academy of Military Sciences who had participated in the writing of previous China's National Defense White Papers.

According to Maj. Gen. Zhen Chou, the increase in China's national defense budget is reasonable, legal, appropriate and sustainable, given the profound changes in China's national strength, the security environment and the global strategic situation.

He said the national defense budget increase is based on "three requirements of the times" and "one realistic possibility".

The first requirement is strengthening the nation and the military. China vowed to become a socialist modern power by the middle of this century. To build a strong nation, China must have a strong military, so China should steadily and appropriately increase the national defense budget.

The second requirement is fulfilling mission. The world is in a period of massive development, reform and adjustment, and China is in a critical stage of growing from a big country to a strong country. The Chinese military must bear in mind the national security strategy in the new era, fulfill its new missions and tasks, and provide strategic support for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The third requirement is deepening the reform. In deepening the reform of national defense and the military, China's national defense budget will focus on optimizing the scale and structure of weapons and equipment and developing new ones.

The realistic possibility refers to the development of the national economy. The strategic demand for the national defense budget must be guaranteed by economic development. China has carried out reform and opening up for 40 years, during which the Chinese economy has grown rapidly, laying a solid material foundation for consolidating national defense and strengthening the military.

"Compared with other major powers in the world, China's national defense budget is still small either in terms of its proportion to GDP or the per capita amount of the whole population or of all soldiers," said Chen Zhou.

According to him, China's national defense budget is objective and transparent without any "hidden part".

Since China joined the UN military transparency mechanism in 2007, it has provided the basic military expenditures of the previous fiscal year to the UN, and reported the import and export of seven types of conventional arms to the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

"Whether a country poses a threat to other countries doesn't depend on the strength of its military, but on the internal and external policies it exercises," said Chen Zhou.

China will adhere to the path of peaceful development and a national defense policy that's defensive in nature, said Chen Zhou, adding that China's development doesn't threaten any other country. No matter how developed it becomes, China will never seek hegemony or expansion.