China plans to raise defense spending 11.2 percent in 2012 to $106.4 billion, as the country’s economic growth gives the military more money to spend on warships, missiles and fighter planes.
China’s defense spending is reasonable and appropriate, Li Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for China’s National People’s Congress, said ahead of a speech tomorrow by Premier Wen Jiabao to open the annual 10-day session of the country’s legislature, the National People’s Congress. “Our defense spending is relatively low compared to other major countries,” Li said.
Defense spending has more than doubled since 2006, tracking a rise in nominal gross domestic product from 20.9 trillion yuan to 47.2 trillion yuan in that time. The growing defense budget has stoked concerns among China’s neighbors and the U.S., which has announced a strategic shift toward Asia including deploying forces to a base in Australia.
The country will spend 670 billion yuan in 2012, Li told reporters today in Beijing. That follows an announced 601 billion yuan budget for 2011.
China now spends more on defense than any country in the world aside from the U.S., whose military spending is almost six times as much. Chinese defense spending as a percentage of GDP was about 1.3 percent in 2011, falling from about 1.4 percent in 2006. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency estimates military spending is actually much higher than the public figure, at 4.3 percent of GDP in 2006.