PLA not 'Boy Scouts': China defends military spending

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang [Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

China on Wednesday blasted Japan's criticism of its increasing military spending, saying the moderate growth in China's defense budget is reasonable and in line with the country's economic conditions.

"The Chinese People's Liberation Army are not Boy Scouts with spears. Some foreigners always expect China to be a baby Scout. In that way, how can we safeguard national security and world peace? How can we ensure stability in the country, region and the world?" said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

"Even as a Scout grows up, his former dress and shoes will not fit anymore and thus he will have to change into bigger ones," the spokesman told a routine press briefing.

The Chinese government on Wednesday revealed plans to raise its defense budget by 12.2 percent to 808.2 billion yuan (about 132 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014.

Shortly after the announcement, Japan accused China of lacking transparency on defense expenditure.

Every year, during China's annual two sessions, the country's military expenditure has drawn special attention from overseas, Qin pointed out.

Reiterating China's adherence to a path of peaceful development, a military that is defensive in nature, and a transparent defense budget, he said it is reasonable for a country of China's size to moderately increase its military spending in the face of a complicated international situation.

It is nothing to be surprised about, the spokesman added.

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