BEIJING (INP): China has engaged in friendly military exchanges with more than 150 countries and international organizations, with the sole objective of promoting peace and stability Worldwide.
This was stated by Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense. The People’ Liberation Army has expanded its global outreach via cooperation and humanitarian missions, but such a trend is not at odds with China’s commitment to following the path of peaceful development.
The PLA stepping onto the world stage is to effectively protect China’s overseas interests and provide more public security services in adherence with common expectations of the international community. “In other words, the PLA brings security, not threat; opportunity, not challenge to the world,” he added.
Meanwhile, a White-paper on China’s defence, issued on Wednesday acknowledges that China still has a wide gap between its defense spending and fulfilling its international responsibilities and obligations as a major country.
From 2012 to 2017, China’s defense budget increased from $97.4 billion to $151.6 billion.
The ratio of China’s annual defense spending to GDP fell from a peak of 5.43 percent in 1979 to 1.26 percent in 2017, it said, and the ratio of the defense budget to total government expenditures decreased from 17.37 percent in 1979 to 5.14 percent in 2017.
Colonel Zhou Zhou, a postdoctoral fellow at the PLA Academy of Military Science, said that in the past few decades, China has witnessed steady and moderate growth in its defense expenditure, which has grown in tandem with the overall development of the national economy and government spending.
In the global context, China had the world’s second-largest military budget in 2017, but it was less than a quarter of that of the United States. From 2012 to 2017, China’s average annual defense expenditure was around 1.3 percent of GDP. The US figure was 3.5 percent, with Russia at 4.4 percent, India at 2.5 percent, and the United Kingdom at 2 percent, the white paper said.
“These figures and indicators show that our nation’s defense spending has been growing moderately and still has reasonable room to grow,” he said. “They also reflect our consistent commitment to our national defense policy, which is defensive in nature.”
According to the document, China will never seek hegemony, expansion or spheres of influence, and the People’s Liberation Army will continue to develop its capability with a “reasonable and appropriate” budget to protect national interests and world peace.
History proves and will continue to prove that China will never follow the beaten track of big powers seeking hegemony. No matter how it will develop, China will never threaten any country or seek any sphere of influence.