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China should expand military spending- report

Written by: Staff

BEIJING, June 5 (Reuters) China should pump up its military spending to safeguard national security because of the danger of Taiwan declaring independence, state media today quoted a government think tank academic as saying.

China also does not spend enough money on defence, considering the rapid growth of its economy, the official China News Service quoted Hu Angang, director of the Centre for China Studies at the prestigious Tsinghua University, as saying.

''China should further increase the percentage of national defence spending, given the fact that China has not been truly unified and faces the possible danger of Taiwan's independence,'' Hu was quoted as saying.

China's military spending was officially about 30 billion dollars in 2005, a 12.6 per cent rise on the previous year, but many foreign experts believe the real figure could be significantly higher.

Last month, China reacted angrily to a US report which voiced concern over Beijing's military build up and soaring budget.

China has never given up the use of force as an option to reunify Taiwan, an island of 23 million which has ruled itself since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

''China's military build up has greatly lagged behind the development of the economy, so that national defence construction has not been in accord with the economy's development,'' Hu said.

Washington has been raising alarms over Beijing's defence modernisation for several years. May's annual Pentagon report on China's military power said it had yet to adequately explain the purposes of its military expansion.

But Beijing insists that its military poses no threat and that it spends less on defence as a share of its economy than many Western countries including the United States.

China puts its military spending at about 1.4 per cent of GDP, but Western experts say it could be as high as 2.8 per cent.

The Pentagon also said China was adding about 100 short-range missiles a year for deployment opposite Taiwan, shifting the balance of power between the two towards the mainland.


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