China defends hefty defence budget as key to Asian stability - The Times of India BEIJING: China on Monday said that its defensive military policies played a "core role" in maintaining peace and stability in Asia, playing down speculation of a hefty rise in its defence spending amid standoff with Japan and others over disputed islands. "China's peaceful foreign policies and its defensive military policies are conducive to security and peace of Asia," Fu Ying, spokesperson for the first session of the National People's Congress (NPC), told a press conference here ahead of the release of budgetary allocations on Tuesday. "It's not good news to the world that a country as large as China is unable to protect itself," Fu, a former vice-foreign minister, said without disclosing this year's defence budget allocation, which is a break from the past. China has increased its defence spending manifold in the recent budgets taking it to over USD 106.4 billion last year which is far above India's this year's defence budget of USD 37.4 billion. Many international analysts say China's defence budget is far higher than it actually announces though Beijing asserts that it is the real amount. Over and above the defence spending China allocated over USD 110 billion for internal security which meant that the country is spending far more on its police forces to maintain a tight control over people. Analysts say that considering that massive defence projects China has undertaken including to build new aircraft carriers and the development of fighters jets to land on the carriers as well as new missile systems and weaponry, this year's budget could be even higher. China's rapid militarisation comes in the midst of its raging dispute with Japan over the islands in East China as well as assertiveness in taking control of the disputed South China Sea brushing aside the claims of several South East Asian Countries. Fu defended the steady hikes in China's defence budget, saying that they are commensurate with the country's development which in turn raised its global profile. Acknowledging that China's rise raised concerns in Japan and other countries, Fu said Beijing beefed up its maritime security and opted to send its ships to patrol the waters of disputed islands in East China Sea after Japan violated consensus agreement and purchased them from private parties. "When some countries make provocation, we should make resolute response and handle these matter in timely manner to send clear signal," she said. Fu said compared with many other parts of the world, Asia has been largely peaceful after the end of the Cold War, which created a favourable environment for development. "That is why Asia is so attractive now," she added.