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    » 03/04/2009, 00.00

    CHINA

    China's military spending continues to rise



    An increase of 14.9%, to 48 billion euros, has been announced for 2009. Beijing says that its military power has exclusively defensive purposes. But experts say that actual spending is much higher, and that China is developing space weapons and computer espionage.

    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - China will increase its military spending by 14.9% in 2009, to 480.6 billion yuan (about 48 billion euros). Li Zhaoxing, a spokesman for the Chinese parliament, calls the increase "modest" and says that it is mainly intended for the modernization of facilities, higher salaries for the 2.3 million people who work in the sector, and for "capacity building programs" in counter-terrorism and disaster relief.

    Li insists that Chinese military power is intended only to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, "and would not threaten any country."

    Beijing also observes that its spending is about 8 times lower than that of the United States, in spite of the fact that its territory and population are much larger.

    In the past, various countries, including the United States and Japan, have expressed their concern over the constant increase of military spending in China, accusing the country of expansionist intentions.

    Experts accuse China of spending much more than it states, an accusation that Li has denied. Ralph Cossa, head of the Honolulu-based Pacific Forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that actual spending is 3-4 times higher, and that the problem is that Beijing is not explaining better how the funds will be used.

    In recent years, the Pentagon has said that China is developing ballistic missiles, anti-satellite weapons, and computer espionage.

    A few days ago, Xinhua said that it will soon begin construction on a new space-launch center on the southern island province of Hainan.

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    See also

    13/02/2008 CHINA - TAIWAN - USA
    Chinese espionage steals U.S. information on the aerial defence of Taiwan
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    26/05/2006 CHINA
    China's military spending rising rapidly

    The Pentagon and other entities claim military spending is growing fast and is 1.7 times higher than officially stated. Beijing has launched a programme to increase research in the military and commercial sectors.



    15/04/2009 CHINA
    Chinese satellite Earth monitoring system operational
    Beijing wants to build an alternative to the GPS system controlled by the United States. With the satellite launched today, it can already monitor China and the surrounding region, but plans to launch about 30 more satellites. Controversy over the possible "espionage" uses or political purposes of the systems.

    12/11/2008 INDIA – JAPAN
    Beijing worried by India-Japan space alliance
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    04/03/2010 CHINA
    China’s defence spending rising "only" 7.5 per cent
    Chinese military expenditures are second only to those of the United States, twice higher than India’s. Many experts believe that the actual defence budget is much higher. National People’s Congress spokesman criticises Obama for meeting the Dalai Lama and world leaders for using Taiwan to interfere in China’s internal affairs. He claims ‘solidarity and harmony” reign in Xinjiang.



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