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Senior PLA officer: China's military power no threat to any country

    BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- China maintains a limited military power only to secure the nation's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and won't pose a threat to any country, said a senior officer of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Wednesday.

    Chinese government has persisted in the "coordinated development" of national defense and economic growth, and raised military spending "moderately" with the backdrop of rapid economic development and growing fiscal revenue, said Liao Xilong, director of the PLA General Logistics Department.

    A rise of defense budget can help match the building of defense infrastructure with the manifold missions entrusted to the armed forces, said Liao, who is attending the annual session of China's top legislature, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

    Jiang Enzhu, spokesman for the First Session of the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature, revealed on Tuesday that China plans to increase its defense budget by 17.6 percent to 417.769 billion yuan in 2008.

    The budget equals 57.229 billion U.S. dollars if converted at the exchange rate by the end of last year.

    Liao, who is also a member of the Central Military Commission, explained that the defense budget is raised to increase subsidies for soldiers and officers so that their life can be improved at the same pace with that of civilians.

    The increase will be used to improve education and training in troops as well as food for soldiers and input in oil purchase, considering price hikes, Liao said.

    Troops scattering along the country's long sea borders or isolated in remote mountain areas will benefit from the budget rise, which will help them settle "practical difficulties" and improve their living conditions, he said.

    More money will also be used to upgrade the military equipment so as to enhance the troops' capability of combating a defensive war based on information technology, he said.

    He pointed out that China's military spending remains a low level compared with some other countries, especially the big powers, in the ratio against gross domestic product (GDP).

    China's military expenditure accounted for only 1.4 percent of its GDP in 2007, the lowest compared with 4.6 percent in the United States, 3 percent in Britain, 2 percent in France, 2.63 percent in Russia and 2.5 percent in India.

    He called on the troops to be thrifty and cut unnecessary consumptions in army administration.

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