As the 10th National Defense White Paper of the Chinese government since 1998 and the first comprehensive national defense white paper since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the new era of Chinas national defense white paper was officially published on July 24.
The new edition of Chinas White Paper on National Defense aims to introduce Chinas national defense policy in the new era at home and abroad, and answer questions about the status and role of China and the Chinese army in the process of peaceful development and security in the country and region in the current and future period. The new edition of the white paper has carried out innovative development on the basis of inheriting the tradition, and compared with the past, it has many first time. As pointed out for the first time, Never seek hegemony, never expand, never seek sphere of influence is a distinct feature of Chinas national defense in the new era. The author believes that, perhaps more concerned by international public opinion, it is the first time to make international comparisons among countries that rank among the worlds top defense expenditures.
The situation of national defense expenditure is undoubtedly one of the key contents of peoples attention. The world judges the nature of Chinas national defense construction and national military strategy and security strategy through the situation of national defense expenditure. Naturally, there will be people with ulterior motives who will maliciously misinterpret and attack Chinas national defense policy on the pretext that China has increased its military expenditure year after year.
Chinas defense expenditure is high or low, first of all, through horizontal comparison, it is clear at a glance. From the three dimensions of defense expenditure as a proportion of GDP, national fiscal expenditure and per capita defense expenditure level, the white paper compares the relevant information from 2012 to 2017. It shows that Chinas defense expenditure as a percentage of GDP is about 1.3%, far lower than the United Statesabout 3.5%, Russias about 4.4%, and Indias about 2.5%. u3002 In terms of the proportion of defense expenditure in fiscal expenditure, China averages about 5.3%, which is also much lower than that of the United States, Russia and India. In terms of per capita defense expenditure, Chinas per capita defense expenditure in 2017 is far lower than that of all major countries except India. Therefore, as a strategic and politically independent power, it is obviously reasonable for China to maintain a moderate increase in defense expenditure on this basis.
Secondly, from a practical point of view, the direction of Chinas defense expenditure is socially constructive and historically compensatory, and is completely subject to the needs of the national defensive strategy. In the first half of the 40 years of reform and opening-up, the army has been living too tight for a long time, resulting in a low level of treatment and welfare for soldiers, backward equipment level and low level of strategic training. Compared with other countries, especially the major military powers, there are more historical arrears. Since 2012, the increased defense expenditure has been mainly used to adapt to the economic and social development of the country, accordingly improve the welfare benefits of officers and soldiers, improve their working and training living conditions, renew old equipment and steadily improve the modernization level of defensive weapons and equipment, and guarantee the deepening of national defense and army reform, combat-oriented training and troops. Complete diversified military tasks.
Thirdly, taking on more international responsibilities and obligations is also an important aspect of moderately increasing national defense expenditure. In the new era, with the expansion of international interests and the improvement of international status, the Chinese army has been more active in fulfilling its international responsibilities and obligations commensurate with its international status. It is evident from the outside world that Chinas armed forces have steadily increased their involvement in international peacekeeping operations, international humanitarian relief and other operations, assuming more international responsibilities and obligations and providing more public safety products within their capabilities, participating in United Nations peacekeeping operations and carrying out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters.
Fourthly, the amount of Chinas defense expenditure ultimately depends on the need to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, as well as the need to deal with current and future military threats. Under the impetus of the upgraded version of the Indo-Pacific Strategy of Asia-Pacific Rebalance, the United States strengthened its containment strategy deployment in an all-round way, which posed all-round security pressure on China, especially military strategic pressure. The main interests of the United States in Chinas export-oriented development are to strengthen the deployment of offensive nuclear forces, anti-missile defense and high-end war forces. Within the framework of military alliance, the ability to ensure the joint involvement and freedom of movement of the US military is becoming stronger and stronger as allies are required to invest more military resources. In addition, the foreign policy adopted by the United States has increased the risk of regional hot spots warming up and disputes evolving into conflicts and wars. In this context, Chinas defense expenditure will naturally increase due to military security considerations and needs. However, its nature lays stress on strategic defense. (The author is a professor at National Defense University)