wnol.info June 19 2018

China boosts defense spending for 2018

June 19 2018, 02:22 | Irvin Gilbert

China boosts defense spending for 2018


The 2018 defense budget will be 1.11 trillion yuan (175 billion USA dollars), according to the report available to media before the first session of the 13th National People's Congress opens Monday morning.

The country will empower innovation teams and leaders by seeing that they have more human, financial, and material resources at their disposal and more power to make decisions related to technology roadmaps, Li said, elivering a government work report at the annual parliamentary session.

Diplomats say China's defence numbers likely underestimate true military spending for the People's Liberation Army, the world's largest armed forces, which are in the midst of an impressive modernisation programme overseen by President Xi Jinping.

"Due to cooperation between all interested parties, we completed the task of reducing the army by 300,000 people", Li added.

China's government said defense spending would rise by 8.1 percent this year, outpacing economic growth and its biggest increase in three years, even as it insists it is no threat to other countries.

Last month, the US Congress approved a record Pentagon budget of US$716 billion (S$945 billion) for next year.

Taiwan's China policy-making Mainland Affairs Council said China's moves to raise defence spending and military drills have increased tension. Last year's budget called for an increase of 7.1 percent, the slowest pace since at least 1991. Without disclosing any details, Zhang said China's defence input rate is lower than other major countries and China's development will pose no threat to any other country.

At the same time, Beijing has imposed increasingly assertive claims to vast expanses of the contested South China Sea, while engaging in confrontations with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea and with India over Himalayan border regions.

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China's defence budget takes up a smaller share of its gross domestic product (GDP) and national fiscal expenditure compared with other major countries, Zhang Yesui, the spokesperson of the NPC told the media here Sunday.

While the figure equals about one-quarter of USA outlays, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that China's actual spending is about 55 percent more than officially stated.

"In recent years, China has increased the inputs of defence by a modest margin". Chinese Navy also expanded its global reach with flotilla ships sailing through the far-off oceans to expand Chinas influence.

All three fleets are growing "leaner and meaner" due to a greater emphasis on technical sophistication, Erickson wrote, adding that the US also anticipates facing a Chinese submarine fleet twice its number, though less technologically advanced.

The defence spending figure is closely watched worldwide for clues to China's strategic intentions as it develops new military capabilities, including stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and anti-satellite missiles.

"The fact that a target continues to be set signals to all - including to officials - that rapid growth remains a priority", analysts at research firm Capital Economics said in note to clients.

"The smell of gunpowder is growing thicker", he said.

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