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China military budget rises sharply: defense ministry

2010/08/31 17:54:27

Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) China increased its defense budget in 2010by 7.5 percent to US$78 billion, while most other countries werecutting military spending, according to the latest report on China'smilitary strength.

The annual report, submitted Tuesday by Taiwan's Ministry ofNational Defense (MND) to the Legislative Yuan, said China did notfollow the general trend of reduced defense budgets in the wake ofthe global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, Taiwan was among the countries that cut defensespending, the report said. Taiwan's 2011 defense budget proposal ofNT$297.2 billion (US$9.27 billion) is NT$200 million less than theprevious year and accounts for 16.6 percent of the country's entirebudget, the report said.

However, the MND has allocated NT$77.6 billion for theconstruction of living quarters for military personnel and theirfamilies, which brings the ministry's full budget to NT$374.8 billionor 2.73 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

President Ma Ying-jeou promised during his presidential electioncampaign to raise the defense budget to 3 percent of GDP, which isthe level it was at before the Democratic Progressive Party came topower in 2000.

The MND report warned that Beijing has launched a "charmingoffensive" against Taiwan and is only being accommodating on issuesthat do not undermine its claim to Taiwan.

Beijing has never let up in its efforts to block the U.S.' saleof arms to Taiwan and would go to great lengths to strengthen itsability to invade Taiwan, despite warming ties across the TaiwanStrait, the report said.

If Taiwan pushes for permanent independence from China, acquiresweapons of mass destruction, or erupts into civil chaos, China coulddecide to attack, according to the report.

(By Kelven Huang and Maubo Chang)
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