China to increase defense budget by 10.7%
posted at 12:27 pm on March 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
And that’s just what they’re willing to admit:
China’s military spending will grow by 10.7 percent this year — a notable increase in the face of sluggish economic growth — according to official reports delivered Tuesday at the kickoff of a two-week meeting that will culminate in the elevation of China’s new president and premier.
The military increase continues nearly two decades of double-digit growth and comes at a critical time as the incoming leaders are consolidating their power and shoring up personal relations with China’s generals.
Leaders also set their target for China’s economy to grow 7.5 percent this year, a number unchanged from last year and modest compared to previous decades of furious growth. The goal reflects belief that the effects of China’s economic slowdown will likely linger in the coming year.
The latest figures delivered by China’s outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao opened the National People’s Congress, an annual parliamentary meeting comprised of highly choreographed speeches, press conferences and rubber stamp votes for initiatives laid out by the ruling Communist Party. The meeting is expected to end on March 17 with party leader Xi Jinping becoming China’s new president.
Wen’s remarks included standard praises for the past year’s work but sprinkled with admissions of problems he and President Hu Jintao were leaving their successors: unsustainable development, corruption, pollution, innovation stifled by dominant state-owned enterprises, income disparity and the gap between rural and urban development.
This is something to keep in mind while we discuss our own global security policies and defense spending over the next several years. We’re likely to face only one potential emerging superpower in the next few decades, and if we’re not prepared to match strength, we’ll end up getting challenged and pushed back in the Pacific. Perhaps it might make sense to shift away from a Europe-centric view of global security and put resources where the greatest potential threats will lie.