Q: It is reported the US Defense Secretary Rumsfield said during the "Shangrila Dialogue" in Singapore that China's actual military expenditure has been the top of Asia and the third of the World. He could not understand why China continuously increases its military expenditure in face of no threat from other countries. What's your comment?
A: China is a peace-loving developing country. We pursue an independent foreign policy of peace, implement a defensive policy for our national defense and adhere to the road of peaceful development. China is an important force for safeguarding peace of Asia-Pacific region and the world at large, which is a truth well-recognized by the international community.
With the economic development in recent years, China's military expenditure has witnessed a slight increase, the bulk of which is used for improving the living conditions of military officials and soldiers. China has neither intention nor capability to drastically develop a military build-up. In fact, compared with other big countries, China's defense expenditure always remains at a fairly low level. Last year, China's defense expenditure was 211.7 billion RMB, while America's defense expenditure topped 455.9 billion US dollars. 17.8 times that of China. Even more, the US per capita defense expenditure was 77 times that of China. The so-called claims that China's military spending has ranked first in Asia and third in the world are totally groundless. Meanwhile, in order to face up volatile international situations and safeguard state sovereignty, national security and territorial integrity, China's army needs to upgrade some weapons and equipment. It is nothing unreasonable. Any words or actions that fabricate and drum up the China's military threat are detrimental to regional peace and stability. We hope the US side to respect facts and do more to benefit the healthy development of China-US relations, to facilitate enhancing mutual trust between Asia-Pacific countries and to contribute to the regional peace and stability.