国防費2ケタ増 中国は軍の透明性を高めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 6, 2011)
China's defense buildup lacking in transparency
国防費2ケタ増 中国は軍の透明性を高めよ(3月5日付・読売社説)

China will boost its defense spending in 2011 by 12.7 percent compared to the previous year's actual figure, a spokesman of the 11th National People's Congress said Friday, one day ahead of the opening of the legislature's fourth annual meeting.

China's defense spending increased by double digits every year for 21 years from 1989 through 2009. But its growth rate dropped to a single digit in 2010 due to effects of the world economic slowdown and other factors.

Now it has returned to a double-digit rate with the economic recovery. Since China aims for an average gross domestic product growth rate of 7 percent for next five years, we must expect that high growth rates in its defense spending are likely to continue.

China's military spending growth rate for this year has surpassed its GDP growth rate of 10 percent last year, when it became the second largest economy in the world.

Beijing should offer a reasonable explanation of why it believes it needs to continue increasing its military spending at a rate surpassing its economic growth rate.


Neighbors uneasy

Its neighbors cannot help but harbor serious concerns unless transparency of the Chinese military is increased. To contribute to Asian regional stability, China should fulfill its responsibility as a major power in this regard.

China's defense spending is 1.58 times larger than Japan's fiscal 2011 defense budget. China is already the world's second largest military power after the United States in terms of defense expenditures.

Besides, its defense budget is obscure on many points. For example, research and development funding for new military equipment is not included. Actual military spending is believed to be more than double the official figure.

The recent buildup of Chinese forces is noteworthy.

Construction of aircraft carriers is progressing steadily in Shanghai and Dalian. An aircraft carrier battle group with submarines and surface ships is expected to go into service in 2020.

A test flight of the J-20, an advanced stealth fighter jet, was conducted at the beginning of this year. The test flight was a provocative show of military strength because it was done while U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was visiting China.

Deployment of Dong-Feng 21D antiship ballistic missiles has already started. The missiles are aimed at preventing U.S. aircraft carriers from coming close to the Taiwan Strait if a contingency takes place in the region, according to military experts.


Saber-rattling over Senkakus

Two Chinese military planes this week flew into airspace about 50 kilometers from the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. It is the first time that Chinese military aircraft have come so far across the median line between the two countries and flown so close to the Senkaku Islands.

The incident could be part of China's attempts to achieve air and sea supremacy in the East China Sea, the South China Sea and the western Pacific. Japan must stay alert.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said China's increasing military budget is obscure not only in its amount but also in its content. "We hope [Beijing] will further increase transparency," he said. We heartily concur.

Through its ministerial talks and defense exchanges with Beijing, the government must question the Chinese side over the reasons and aims behind the long-term increases in its defense expenditures.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 5, 2011)
(2011年3月5日01時24分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2011-03-06 07:04 | 英字新聞

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