The lengthy report from China’s Finance Minister Xiang Huaicheng at the session of the Chinese assembly of the people’s representatives was eye-catching for the figures of the defense budget, which gained 17.6% in the year 2002.
One may not say that this was a surprising news. The formulation of the international situation was optimistic both in the report from Premier Zhu Rongji about the activity of the government, and at the press-conference that was given by Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan. But who does not understand that China has been encircled as a result of the USA’s anti-terrorist crusade? The American army bases encircle China both from the east (from Japan, South Korea), and from the west (from Central Asia).
The aspiration for the modernization of the Chinese armed forces, for the increase of budget appropriations for defense is a sure thing. And the Chinese army command believes, according to some pieces of information, that the increase of the defense spending is even not enough. There are reasons for that, taking account of the figures, exposed by the American newspaper Washington Post : as it turns out, China’s budget appropriations for defense (about 20 billion dollars) are twice as less in comparison with Japan’s ($45 billion), and 18 times as less (!) in comparison with America’s ($379 billion).
China’s government is intended to considerably increase the funding of the social needs in connection with the membership in the World Trade Organization, to take care of the growth of consumption, to improve the living standard of the common people. So the principle “cannons instead of butter” is not good for the course, outlined by the current session of China’s supreme state power body.
Andrey Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov