China Plans Big Increase in Military Budget
By JIM YARDLEY and DAVID LAGUE
BEIJING, March 4 — China announced its biggest increase in military spending in five years on Sunday, an increase that quickly prompted the United States to renew its calls for more transparency from the Chinese military about the scope and intent of its rapid arms buildup.
Jiang Enzhu, a spokesman for the National People’s Congress, the Communist Party-controlled national legislature, said China’s military budget would rise this year by 17.8 percent, to roughly 350 billion yuan, or just under $45 billion.
“We must increase our military budget, as it is important to national security,” Mr. Jiang said at a news conference. “China’s military must modernize. Our overall defenses are weak.”
But China’s military modernization efforts, particularly its drive to develop advanced weaponry, have been raising concern from Washington to Tokyo to New Delhi. In January, China set off fears of an arms race in space when it successfully tested an anti-satellite missile that destroyed one its own aging weather satellites. A month earlier, the People’s Liberation Army began deploying the country’s first state-of-the-art jet fighter, the J-10.
These advances reflect China’s intense focus on scientific and technological development, and are the fruits of more than a decade of increased military spending. China’s defense outlays increased ...full text