China's defence budget rise to outpace economic growth target

China’s defence spending ranks as the world's second largest, lagging behind the United States.

06 March 2019 | Economics

We are not afraid of a fight and we will not challenge [China], but we are ready to fight at all times. - Su Tseng-chang, Premier: Taiwan

Michael Martina and Ben Blanchard - China's 2019 defence spending will rise 7.5% from 2018, according to a budget report issued at the opening of the country's annual meeting of parliament yesterday, a slower rate than last year but still outpacing the economic growth target.

The defence spending figure, set at 1.19 trillion yuan (US$177.49 billion), is closely watched worldwide for clues to China's strategic intentions as it develops new military capabilities, including stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and anti-satellite missiles.

The 2019 defence spending increase comes as China's economic growth target for the year was set at 6.0 to 6.5%.

Last year, defence spending was set to increase 8.1%, in 2017 was set at just 7%, and in 2016 it grew 7.6%. The five years before that had seen double-digit increases.

China would "speed up efforts to make innovations in defence-related science and technology" and maintain "absolute [Communist] Party leadership over the armed forces", premier Li Keqiang told parliament.

Neighbours

China's military build-up has unnerved its neighbours, particularly because of its increasing assertiveness in territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas and over Taiwan, a self-ruled territory Beijing claims as its own.

A government spokesman on Monday said China would keep up a "reasonable and appropriate" increase in defence spending to satisfy its national security and military reforms.

Beijing does not provide a breakdown of its defence budget, leading neighbours and other military powers to complain that its lack of transparency has added to regional tensions.

"China has increased defence spending at a high rate for some time and Japan would like to see a high level of transparency in regard to its defence policy and militarisation," the Japanese government's spokesman, chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, said yesterday.

"We will continue to monitor the situation closely and at the same time will look to engage further with China in security dialogue in order to seek clarification."

‘True numbers’

Its defence spending ranks as the world's second largest, lagging behind the United States. By comparison, US president Donald Trump has backed plans to request US$750 billion from Congress for US defence spending in 2019.

But diplomats and military experts say China's defence numbers probably underestimate true military spending for the People's Liberation Army, the world's largest armed forces, which are in the midst of an impressive modernisation programme overseen by president Xi Jinping.

Sam Roggeveen, visiting fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at Australian National University, said the budget figure marked a "substantial increase" in the size of China's military.

"China has long maintained its military is for the defence of its borders but that definition has broadened over the years," Roggeveen said. "The West will be very interested to see what the funds are used for, particularly if it used on assets that can project force over great distances."

Taiwan

China's military has been particularly focused on democratic Taiwan recently and is nervous president Tsai Ing-wen wants to move the island towards a formal declaration of independence, a red line for China, which views Taiwan as its territory.

Li said China will "resolutely oppose and deter any separatist schemes or activities seeking Taiwan independence, and resolutely protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

Tsai, who has repeatedly warned of the threat from Beijing, says she wants to maintain the status quo with China but will defend the island's security and democracy.

"China repeatedly claims that they won't give up annexing Taiwan by force, so we are always being very cautious," Taiwan premier Su Tseng-chang told parliament yesterday when asked by a lawmaker about the Chinese military threat.

"We are not afraid of a fight and we will not challenge [China], but we are ready to fight at all times." – Nampa/Reuters

Similar News

 

Fallout over 2% tax

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Economics

Political parties and analysts have called on the government to abandon a plan to introduce a “voluntary” 2% tax to fund drought relief.Prime Minister Saara...

Govt on zula spree

3 days ago - 23 May 2019 | Economics

The government will soon ask public office bearers and civil servants to pay a voluntary tax that will be used to fund drought relief and...

Windhoek has highest inflation in Nam

1 week ago - 15 May 2019 | Economics

Windhoek’s annual overall inflation rate in April was 5%, the highest in the country, according to figures released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) this...

Drought leaves Namibians desperate

1 week ago - 15 May 2019 | Economics

Ndalimpinga Iita - When there is a prolonged dry spell, the sea of withered amber crops becomes a common sight in the northern part of...

Ramaphosa's economic reforms in focus

1 week ago - 15 May 2019 | Economics

Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo - Boosting South African growth and overhauling bloated power firm Eskom are post-election priorities for the African National Congress, but a reduced majority...

From activist to business, and then to power

1 week ago - 15 May 2019 | Economics

In the course of his 66 years, Cyril Ramaphosa has experienced the poverty of Soweto, jail for fighting apartheid, trade union activism, fabulous wealth -...

Govt cash not limitless

1 week ago - 15 May 2019 | Economics

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein has cautioned that demands for more money appear to be based on the perception that government has unlimited resources.Speaking in the...

House prices remain under pressure

1 week ago - 13 May 2019 | Economics

The FNB House Price Index recorded a contraction of 1.0% at the end of March 2019 compared to a contraction of 0.3% over the same...

Debt breaks consumers

2 weeks ago - 06 May 2019 | Economics

Consumers - by the end of last year - spent N$95.50 out of every N$100 earned to pay off debts. During the recession, the consumer...

Poverty budget does more with less

3 weeks ago - 03 May 2019 | Economics

The number of Namibians receiving social grants from the poverty ministry has increased by 3.2% to nearly 220 000 over the last financial year.In his...

Latest News

10% water hike coming

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Disasters

The City of Windhoek has proposed a 10% water and 5% sewer tariff hike to come into effect in July. The City's recently announced...

Low earners excluded from drought...

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Disasters

Households with a combined income of more than N$2 600 will not qualify for state drought assistance, which has effectively excluded even low-level civil servants...

How did we get here?

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Opinion

How did we get to a situation, as a country, where our government is asking already struggling workers to donate 2% of the salaries as...

AMTA ends Fysal agreement

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Agriculture

Fysal Fresh Produce is to retrench 60 employees at the end of this month after its contract with the Agro-Marketing Trading Agency (AMTA) was terminated....

Geingob grills Nanso

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Education

The Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) leadership received a grilling from President Hage Geingob on Wednesday during a meeting to discuss a number of issues,...

Fallout over 2% tax

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Economics

Political parties and analysts have called on the government to abandon a plan to introduce a “voluntary” 2% tax to fund drought relief.Prime Minister Saara...

Bild challenges Guibeb

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | International

The German newspaper Bild has rubbished a claim by the Namibian ambassador to Germany, Andreas Guibeb, that no arrest warrant had been issued against him.The...

Namibia ranks poorly for diversity

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Cultural

For a country that is described by many as one of the most diverse in the world, Namibia has ranked fairly poorly in a new...

Business ponders mass exodus

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Business

A recent survey by the Economic Policy Research Association (EPRA) of close to 600 businesses concerned about the government's policy direction shows that a staggering...

Load More