China’s defense budget increases 11.2 percent
The government of China announced on Sunday that it plans to increase its defense spending by 11.2 percent in 2012 in order to ensure China’s global commitments and preserve security.
The People’s Liberation Army’s defense spending will amount to $110 billion for 2012, the second highest following the United States. According to Reuters, China’s military spending is due to its economic expansion and President Barack Obama’s focus on U.S influence across the Asia-Pacific region.
“China’s limited military power is for the sake of preserving national sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity,” parliament spokesman Li Zhaoxing said. “Fundamentally, it constitutes no threat to other countries.”
Li stated that the budget spent on the People’s Liberation Army is no comparison to Pentagon spending. He further stated in a news conference before The National People’s Congress session took place that its defense spending is relatively low given the size of China and its population of 1.3 billion people.
U.S military spending for the fiscal year of 2012 calls for a budget of $525.4 billion, almost a $5.1 billion decrease from 2012, Reuters reported.
Despite China saying that they’re taking a non-confrontational approach towards the world, its Asian neighbors are fearful of Beijing’s military expansion. The substantial rise could stream controversy in areas such as Japan, India, Southeast Asia, and self-governed Taiwan.
Bloomberg reported that China is currently in disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan over the control of oil and gas-rich waters, while also having lingering territorial disputes with India dating back to 1962.
“China lives in a neighborhood where it doesn’t have any natural allies or friends,” Geoff Raby, Australia’s previous ambassador to China said in a phone interview.
The Obama administration has reiterated to its Asian allies that it will continue to stay a key player in the Asian-Pacific. Bloomberg reported that U.S analysts believe China’s defense budget to be fifty percent more than what Li announced on Sunday.