Navy commander wants 'transparency' on China's defense spending after budget increase

Share

Official Chinese defence spending is about one-quarter that of the United States, though many foreign analysts and diplomats say China under-reports the figure.

Chinese PLA (People's Liberation Army) soldiers march past the Tian'anmen Rostrum during the military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in Beijing, China, 3 September 2015.

The 8.1 per cent increase unveiled on Monday is higher than last year's budget allocation, when China upped military spending by 7 per cent over the previous year.

Some economists have forecast a slowing in the rate of GDP growth following 2017's unexpectedly strong performance thanks to property and infrastructure spending, as well as a strong contribution from the trade surplus.

It's obvious that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is well-prepared to defend its controversial decision to scrap the two-term limit for the presidency in China's constitution.

China's budget announcement comes as President Xi Jinping, the commander in chief of the country's armed forces, focuses on increasing both the sophistication and reach of the country's military.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a government work report at the opening meeting of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2018.

Among the changes in the proposal presented at the opening of the annual NPC session was one to remove the stipulation that the president and vice-president shall serve no more than two five-year terms.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remark while attending a panel discussion with deputies to the National People's Congress from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Why CFIUS Is Intervening in Broadcom's Qualcomm Bid
Mir also cited concerns about Broadcom's relationships with foreign entities, without elaborating on who they might be. Broadcom has not been specific in its plans for patent licensing other than to say the business model is broken.

"Resolutely safeguard General Secretary Xi Jinping's core status and the authority of the party's central committee and its centralized and unified leadership", Li said in a speech to almost 3,000 delegates to the ceremonial legislature in the Great Hall of the People.

"There is every indication that China wants to expand what it will call defence capabilities in the South China Sea".

In an article on its website, China's Defence Ministry cited Chen Zhou, a researcher at the Academy of Military Science, as saying the spending increase was "reasonable" and "sustainable", and that there were no "hidden military funds". Additionally, he outlined an expansive plan to lift millions of citizens out of poverty.

There were also more direct items to note, of course.

But a reliance on borrowing has led to pressing political concerns about debt risk.

Li also said China will improve supervision over shadow banking, internet finance and financial holding companies, and step up risk controls at financial institutions.

On the horizon, as China lays out its financial ambitions, is a potential trade war brewing with the USA, as the Trump administration pursues its policy of shifting the global balance in trade. "There'll be increased cost to protect its forces and save lives for China", professor Thayer from the Australian Defense Force Academy said.

Jia Qingguo, dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University, warned of emerging signs of "a global trade war" after the United States announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports last week.

Share