PLA budget slowdown meets needs of times

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-5 0:08:01

The National People's Congress spokesperson Fu Ying disclosed on Friday that China's military spending is expected to grow between 7 and 8 percent. It is surprisingly lower than media expectations of up to 20 percent, or at least that it would be higher than last year's 10.1 percent.

For many Chinese, the first response was a bit of disappointment. But we believe the decision has its reasons. The Chinese economy has been under grave downward pressure. GDP growth was 6.9 percent last year, the lowest in years. It makes sense that the budget matches economic growth.

We can get more information from the new growth target in addition to the fact that it has ended five years of two-digit growth, 

First, China is confident about the development of its capability to ensure national security. The military budget reached $130 billion last year, the world's second largest. China's development of high-tech weapon systems have been picking up in recent years. There is no need to spend hugely to catch up with the US, which seeks to keep its global military presence. China's regional military deterrence aimed at national defense has been taking shape.

Annual growth of 7-8 percent means doubling the current level in a decade and reaching close to half of the US military spending. Such steady growth is more sustainable.

Third, the Chinese government does not want to irritate other countries and trigger an arms race. Domestically, the government does not want to make its people anxious, as if major military conflicts are pending.

Fourth, the government focuses on economic development and improving people's livelihood, as it believes better taking care of domestic problems is the foundation for the country's long-term political stability. International competition between major powers will first lie in the competition of domestic solidarity.

The fact that the Chinese public expects higher military budgets reflects people's desire to see a country with stronger defense capability. Such stance prevails over a few who complain the military spending is already too much.

The increasing US provocations in the South China Sea have been creating a greater sense of crisis for the Chinese people.

The government did not act tit-for-tat, but made a prudent decision in terms of military budget growth. It is a healthy situation.

The dimensions of China's national interests have been increasing. Security challenges are also growing. National defense capabilities are the foundation of China's security. Do not care too much about what the outside world says about us. The most important thing is that we believe we are right, and we will walk on.

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