White paper: China's defense spending is reasonable, appropriate
China's defense spending is "reasonable and appropriate," according to a white paper released on Wednesday by China's State Council Information Office.
Titled "China's National Defense in the New Era," it said the ratios of China's defense expenditure to GDP and to government expenditure are at a "relatively low level" among major countries.
The country's defense expenditure has fallen from a peak of 5.43 percent of its GDP in 1979 to 1.26 percent in 2017, according to the white paper.
"On the whole, defense expenditure has grown in tandem with the growth of the national economy and government expenditure," it noted.
Explaining the increase in China's defense expenditure since 2012, the white paper said it was due to factors such as regular growth in military salaries, increased input in weaponry development, deepened military reform, enhanced training and the diversification of military tasks like UN peacekeeping operations and disaster relief efforts.
"The percentage of China's defense expenditure in GDP remained stable and grew in coordination with the increase of government expenditure," it pointed out.
In 2017, China's defense expenditure was less than a quarter of that of the United States in terms of total spending, it said.
From 2012 to 2017, the ratio of China's defense expenditure to GDP was about 1.3 percent – the lowest among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, according to the white paper.
It also noted that China's per capita defense expenditure in 2017 was just 750 yuan (about 109 U.S. dollars), which was five percent of the U.S., 25 percent of Russia, 13 percent of Britain and 29 percent of Japan.