Houston Community News >> Chinese to Increase Defense Spending

8/13/2007 BEIJING (UPI) — Chinese President Hu Jintao has reportedly assured his military it will have higher budgets as the country enjoys double-digit economic growth.

Speaking Wednesday on the 80th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army, the Chinese leader promised higher defense spending to build the military into a modern, high-tech fighting force, Voice of America reported.

The report said China's military spending has been growing in double-digit number for years and by as much as nearly 18 percent this year with the government saying budget increases are needed for salary raises and to update aging equipment.

But those concerned over China's real intentions claim defense spending is really far higher than what has been disclosed by the government, the report said. Incidents such as the knocking out of an orbiting satellite by a Chinese anti-satellite weapon last January are the reasons for the concerns.

Others include questions regarding China's intentions toward Taiwan, which China claims is a breakaway province.

China has said its military build-up poses no threat to its neighbors

The PLA, once the Communist Red Army, is the world's largest standing army with more than 2.25 million members.

(Contributed by ImediaNews.com)