China is increasing its military budget by 10.7% this year. Outgoing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced during the National People's Congress on Tuesday that the regime is putting aside 720 billion yuan, or $115 billion US dollars, for its People's Liberation Army.
[Lan Shun, NTD China Analyst]:
"As a dictatorship regime, the Communist Party relies on getting its power from the barrel of the gun. It's a basic element of maintaining its power. So with the fifth generation of leaders coming out, they need to establish their position in the military, so the double digit growth is not unusual."
One thing the Chinese regime will outspend the military on is internal defense. It's budgeted at 769 billion yuan, or 123 billion US dollars. The money is used to police the Chinese public for so-called "maintaining stability."
On its military, Wen said that the Chinese regime would modernize its national defense and armed force. The regime has flexed its military muscles in recent months, staging war drills and showing-off hardware like its first operational aircraft carrier. The Liaoning was originally a secondhand ship purchased from Ukraine.
Chinese leaders have reassured neighboring countries thatthe military buildup poses no threat, though they haven't been convincing.
[Professor Alexander Huang, Strategy and War Gaming, Tamkang University]:
"So in a sense we wanted to understand that it's a legitimate increase for its expanding military role. However, for other countries in the region, it's quite alarming that China's still continuing to increase its defense budget increase. Its military capability will definitely be a threat to regional countries."
While China's military budget is much lower than that of the US, observers widely believe the actual spending is underreported.
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