China underestimated its growing defense budget by nearly 20 percent with its spending likely nearing $145 billion last year, the Pentagon said Thursday.
In an annual report required by Congress, the Pentagon said that China’s defense budget for 2013 was higher than the officially announced $119.5 billion.
“We think that if you start factoring in other considerations, other funding streams that go into the military, other investments that are not included in the defense budget, that it could be up to $145 billion,” a Pentagon official said of the report.
The United States and its allies, especially Japan, have repeatedly voiced concern about the Chinese military’s lack of transparency amid growing tensions between Beijing and neighboring countries over maritime disputes.
In its previous annual report on China, the Pentagon said that Beijing’s military spending was anywhere between $135-215 billion.
The $145 billion estimate “reflects an improvement in our understanding of how China develops its defense budget,” the official said.
Full article: China under-reported defense by 20 percent: Pentagon (Defence Talk)