Chinese military defends $106 bn defence budget

China said much of the defence budget would go for increased salaries of soldiers, training and exercises.

Beijing: Claiming that it has no hidden military expenditure, China on Friday defended the 11.2 percent increase in its defence budget saying that much of it would go for increased salaries of soldiers, training and exercises as well as acquiring new equipment.

The increase of China`s military budget is reasonable and should be viewed objectively, Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun was quoted as saying by the state media.

China increased its military budget this year to CY 670 billion (USD 106 billion).

Yang said it is a natural requirement for China to raise the military budget to safeguard national security and the increase was in accordance with the level of China`s economic and social development.

There was need to keep the salaries of officers and soldiers in line with the improvement of living standards, he said.

Also military training requires a rise in expenditure of military exercise and college education as well as military infrastructure construction, he said adding that Chinese Army must be equipped with new facilities in the course of military

"China increased its military budget by 11.2 percent in 2012, while the budgets for education, public health, and social security and employment were increased 17.5 percent, 15.4 percent and 16.1 percent respectively," Yang said.

Yang said Chinese military spending only accounted for 1.28 percent of China`s total GDP in 2011, and the budget for 2012 is one sixth of that of the United States.

Yang denied the perception that China does not disclose all its defence expenditure.

"China has no hidden military expenditure," he said.

"Allegations like rapid growth of China`s military spending or speculation that China has a hidden military expenditure is either due to ignorance or ulterior motives," Yang said.

"We hope relevant parties can view China`s military budget in a professional and responsible way."