BEIJING, June 9 (Xinhuanet) -- China has no
intention of large-scale military expansion, even though its military spending has
grown moderately in recent years, said a Chinese general Thursday.
"Along with its economic growth, China has increased national defense spending in recent years. The increased part
is mainly used to improve living conditions of military officers and soldiers,"
said Ding Jiye, a major general and head of the finance office of the General
Logistics Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
United States Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
recently said he could not understand why China increased its military
expenditure with no threats from other countries.
Ding told Xinhua that China had no intention nor
capability to carry out large-scale military expansion.
China set a 244.7 billion yuan (approximately 29.48
billion US dollars) budget for national defense in 2005, up 12.6 percent over
last year. The increased spending in recent years, made possible by rapid
economic growth, have mainly ended up in three areas, said Ding.
The bulk of the increased funding, said Ding, has
gone to improve lives of officers and soldiers. As civilians benefit from
China's economic growth, living conditions of military personnel should also be
improved, he said.
"A large part of the increased spending have gone to
raising board wages, improving clothing materials and raising subsidies in
similar fields. It is necessary if only the price rise factor is taken into
account," said Ding.
Second, fund has gone to meet the cost of
organizational reform,which has included cutting the number of military
personnel and employing civil servants for certain posts. This year, China is
expected to complete the task of cutting military personnel by 200,000 during
the 10th Five-Year Plan period (2001-2005), a decision made by the CPC Central
Committee and the state Central Military Commission.
"Extra expenses are needed to cover the arrangements
for retired personnel and newly employed personnel," Ding said.
He said that moderate increases on weapons spending
have gone towards keeping up with accelerated military reform in the world.
China needs to increase spending on military research, purchase of equipment and
training high-caliber military personnel. All of this is to modernize the
military, enhancing mechanization and creating a better information
Ding said despite the growth of military spending in
recent years, China's national defense expenditure remained far behind other
major countries in the world in many areas, including aggregate amount, ratio in
GDP and per capita military spending.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao
Tuesday said at a press conference that last year, the US military spending was
455.9 billion US dollars, 17.8 times that of China. In terms of per capita
military spending, the US figure is 77 times that of China.
"Any words or deeds that create and exaggerate
China's military threat will do harm to regional peace and stability," Liu said.