BEIJING, March 6 -- Chinese Defense Spokesperson Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, also spokesperson for the delegation of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the People's Armed Police (PAP) Force at the first session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC), answered questions from the press on March 6, in which he introduced the arrangements for China's national defense budget in 2023.
The Chinese government upholds the guideline of coordinated development of national defense and economy, and appropriately determines the scale of defense spending in light of actual defense needs and national economic development level, said Tan, adding that China has kept its defense expenditure increasing moderately while maintaining the sustainable and sound economic and social development in recent years, so as to promote defense capabilities to grow in step with the nation's economic strength.
According to Tan, China has allocated a defense budget of 1,58 trillion yuan from the national general public budget for 2023, with an increase of 7.2% from the previous year's executed amount. This figure includes 1.55 trillion yuan from the central government expenditure, an increase of 7.2% over the actual figure of last year. The increment will mainly be used in four areas:
First, according to the military development scheme of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), to comprehensively strengthen war-preparedness training to consolidate and enhance integrated national strategies and strategic capabilities.
Second, to speed up the development of modern logistics, implement major projects to develop defense-related science and technology, weaponry, and equipment, and move faster to translate scientific and technological advances into combat capabilities.
Third, to build on and expand the gains of national defense and military reform, ensure that the reform measures, policies and regulations in key areas and in urgent needs can be fully implemented, and improve military governance capabilities.
Fourth, to continuously improve the working, training and living conditions of the troops in step with the national level of economic and social development.
The spokesperson clarified that China adheres to the way of peaceful development and pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. "China also actively participates in the UN's military expenditure transparency regime, and has been submitting annually its military expenditure report of the last fiscal year to the UN since 2008", said Tan.
He stressed that China's restrained defense spending is purely for safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, noting that in comparison with major military powers such as the US, China's defense spending remains relatively low in terms of percentage in GDP, percentage in national fiscal expenditure, and per capita defense expenditure as well as per-serviceperson defense expenditure.