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Defense budget for 2006 rises 14.7% to $35.1b
Updated: 2006-03-04 12:51

China's defense budget for this year is expected to be 283.8 billion yuan (about US$35.1 billion), an increase of 14.7%, an official said at a press conference in Beijing on Saturday, March 4.

This is the budget for 2006, to be submitted by the State Council to the upcoming National People's Congress for deliberation and approval, said Jiang Enzhu, spokesman for the Fourth Sessiono of the 10th NPC at the press conference.

Defense budget for 2006 rises 14.7% to $35.1b
Jiang Enzhu, spokesman for the upcoming NPC session, speaks at a news conference inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 4, 2006. The National People's Congress will start its session on Sunday and conclude it on March 14. [Reuters]
He said the budget will be used in the following four fields: wages and welfare benefits for the military personnel; extra spending on fuel due to international oil price hikes; personnel training; and appropriate spending on military equipment and the military combating capacity.

Jiang said the proposed budget is a 14.7% increase over that of last year. He further explained that the proportion of defense spending in the national fiscal expenditure is roughly at the same level of the previous years. In 2003, the proportion was 7.74%, in 2004, it was 7.72% and in 2005, it was 7.34%.

Despite of this reasonable increase, China's military spending is still very low, as compared with other countries in the world.

In 2005, China's defense spending was US$30.2 billion or 1.36% of its GDP. But in the United States, its military spending was US$401.7 billion or 3.6% of its GDP; in Britain, US$48.8 billion or 2.59% of its GDP; in Japan, US$45.3 billion; and in France, US$36.5 billion or 1.98% of its GDP.

Jiang said China is peace-loving country and is taking a road of peaceful development. China has no intention or capacity to pursue a high-speed development of its military equipment.   

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