China's military spending justifiable: Beijing academic
Central News Agency
Beijing, March 4 (CNA) A Beijing-based academic said Sunday that China's increasing military spending was justifiable, given several factors.
Shi Yinhong, a professor in international relations with Renmin University of China, noted that China's soaring military budget, which has increased annually over the past 20 years, has triggered criticism from Western nations.
However, Shi said, the increase of the military budget was justifiable because China needs to maintain stability in its complicated relations with the United States and many neighboring countries as its economic and financial strength was rising.
Moreover, it costs China a lot of money to "maintain a passable defense capacity," especially as military technology is undergoing revolutionary development at the moment, he said.
Besides, he said, a huge amount of money was needed to pay improved salaries to China's military personnel, as military salaries were relatively low compared to other sectors.
Shi described Western nations' criticism of China's "excessive military buildups" as an "overreaction."
He made the remarks in response to a CNA reporter's questions concerning Beijing's announcement recently that China's military budget for 2012 will top 670.27 billion Chinese yuan (US$106 billion), representing a year-on-year increase of 11.2 percent over 2011.
Speaking at a press conference Sunday, Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the ongoing fifth meeting of China's 11th National People's Congress, said the annual military budget of China was relatively low compared to budgets of other Western powers.
"I wonder why journalists from Western countries always find fault with China's military spending," said Li, formerly a foreign minister.
(By Huang Chi-kuan, Lawrence Chiu and Deborah Kuo)
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