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China's defense budget up 14.7% in 2006

  时间:2006-03-20 15:21    来源:     

China's defense budget for 2006 is expected to hit 283.8 billion yuan (about 35.1 billion U.S. dollars), 14.7 percent higher than last year, a spokesman for China's top legislature said in Beijing Saturday.

This year's defense budget accounts for 7.4 percent of the budgeted fiscal expenditure, compared with 7.74 percent in 2003, 7.72 percent in 2004 and 7.34 percent in 2005, said Jiang Enzhu, spokesman for the Fourth Session of the Tenth National People's Congress (NPC), which is slated to open on Sunday.

The State Council, or the cabinet, will submit the budget for approval at the annual session of the national legislature.

China's military expenditure increased moderately in recent years along with rapid economic development.

Jiang said the defense budget is raised this year to increase the salary and welfare of servicemen and cover the mounting costs of oil products for military use in line with the price hike on international oil market.

"I have experienced at least four salary rises since I joined the army 13 years ago," said Liu Lei, a captain of the General Staff of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), adding that the increased amount shall be 200 yuan (about 25 U.S. dollars) to 1,000 yuan (125 U.S. dollars) in accordance with different military rankings.

Higher income and better welfare will help attract more talented people to the army, said Guo Xinning, a researcher with the strategic institute under the University of National Defense.

Extra money from the proposed defense budget would also be spent on training talented professionals for the military and improving military equipment for better defensive and combating capacity, the spokesman said.

Military spending in China still remains a low level compared with some other countries, such as the United States, Britain, Japan and France, he added.

China's vast territory demands the safeguard of advanced military equipment, which, however, needs great upgrade and reinforcement at present, according to Guo.

"The increase in military expenditure is actually an effort to narrow the gap," Guo said.

"As a peace-loving country, China always carries out an independent foreign policy of peace and follows the road of peaceful development," Jiang stressed.

"China does not intend nor has the capacity to seek large-scale arms expansion," he said.

It has been proved that China has increased military spending for defense instead of expansion, said Yao Yunzhu, an NPC deputy engaged in military science. "It will never pose any threat to any countries."

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