Commenting on the reaction to Chinese authorities' plans to increase the country's military spending in 2018, the state-run China Daily reported "finger-pointing from the usual suspects" and at the same time recalled that "China's military lags well behind other major countries."
"China's defense budget is neither the largest in size — it accounts for just one-fourth of the military spending of the United States — nor does it have the fastest growth rate," the newspaper pointed out.
It justified the rise in defense spending by China's "maritime interests being increasingly infringed upon in recent years."
"Thus seeking a stronger military is natural for it [China] to safeguard its interests and counter any threat that may materialize from the aggressive posturing of others upset by its rise," the China Daily stressed.
It was echoed by the Global Times, which praised Beijing for avoiding an arms race with the United States which the Chinese newspaper claimed would led to a substantial increase in China's defense spending.
"China has obviously not fallen into the mind-set of engaging in an arms race with the US. Otherwise it could totally realize double-digit increases in its defense expenditure," the newspaper underscored.
It ascribed the rise in the country's military budget to tensions in the South China Sea and plans by the US, Japan, Australia and India to form alliances.
According to the Global Times, "Beijing has stuck to its own template and was not disturbed by external factors."
"These investments and commitment need to be taken with full transparency," Swift noted, adding that Beijing's "intent is not clearly understood."
On March 5, the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that the country's military budget would grow by 8.1 percent, up to 1.11 trillion yuan [$175 billion] in 2018.