China's defence budget hike a rational move: Xinhua

Beijing: China raising its defence budget is a rational move in favour of economic development, said a commentary in state-run news agency Xinhua on Saturday. The commentary "China's military spending growth rational, no room for 'China threat' cliche" said that China's plan to raise its defence budget this year by a six-year low rate of 7.6 percent is yet another rational move in favour of economic development in the country, "which leaves no room for the 'China threat' cliche hyped up by certain Western powers". It added that it is remarkable that "China, the third largest country by land size, is defending the world's largest population with only 6 percent of what the US spends on defence per capita."  "The fact is, even with the lowest increase since 2010, China's military budget is still less than one third of that of the US, which dwarfs the combination of all eight other countries ranking after it in terms of defence spending," it noted. Xinhua said that the criticism is simply a calculated ballyhoo directed by the West to defame China and to portray China as a simmering threat which it needs as an excuse to contain with a larger military budget.

Also read: "Should the West take off its tinted spectacles, it could easily find that the uptick is just a normal and rational budget adjustment for a country that pursues a defensive national defence policy, and that has a land larger than the US and territorial waters much larger than Mexico in size to defend." The commentary justified the rise on three points. "First, defending one's own territory with a proper budget is a sacred right endowed by the international law to all countries, not excluding China. Therefore raising budget according to defence needs is purely part of China's internal affairs.  "Second, thanks to the Western arms embargo against China, Beijing has no choice but relying mostly on itself to carry out its defence modernisation from scratch, which surely requires relatively high military spending. However, even after the increase, the budget is still only about 1.5 percent of China's GDP, which is lower than the average level of 2.6 percent worldwide. "Third, with increasing intrusion of war ships and planes into China's territorial waters and space, the US and some of its allies are continuously challenging China's bottom line in the name of 'freedom of navigation'. China cannot fend off these challenges merely with sampans and telescopes. Its armed forces, which have never incited war with anyone, need to be modernised with a reasonable military budget growth." It went on to say that the rise of China's defence budget is moderate in nature, and "anyone badmouthing it is actually selling something, either the 'China threat' cliche or the illusory Chinese hegemony".

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Xinhua said that the defaming campaign targeting China clearly shows that Washington and some of its allies are taking a dangerous isolationist approach on the issue of China's development.  "It is highly advised that Western powers, particularly the United States, expand their strategic horizon and contemplate the promising future with Sino-West cooperation instead of confrontation. That is a mission neither sides can afford to lose."