What To Make Of China’s Defense Spending Increase -- James R. Holmes, The Diplomat
On Tuesday outgoing Chinese premier Wen Jiabao opened the annual meeting of the National People's Congress with a report announcing, among other things, that defense spending will expand by 10.7 percent this year, reaching an official figure of $115.7 billion. Wise China-watchers attach a mental asterisk to economic and budgetary figures issuing from Beijing, which has every incentive and every opportunity to fudge such numbers for political reasons. Last year, for instance, the Pentagon estimated Chinese defense spending at $120-180 billion, against the official total of $106 billion. Its 2012 report on Chinese military power ascribed the disparity to such factors as "poor accounting transparency," the nation's "still incomplete transition from a command economy," and the absence of major expenditures such as foreign weapons purchases from the defense budget. In all likelihood the Pentagon's is a conservative estimate, compiled by U.S. defense officials worried about standing accused of peddling the "China threat theory," pursuing nouveau containment, and the rest of the usual sins.
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My Comment: There are two reasons for this increase .... (1) continue pursuing the goal of becoming the regional superpower, and (2) to have the means to insure that civil disobedience or unrest does not happen in China itself.