China to increase defense budget by 10%

China to increase defense budget by 10%

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China’s defense budget will grow to around USD 145 billion in 2015, registering a rise of about 10 percent in comparison with 2014.

The Chinese military budget for 2015 will be about 10 percent bigger than last year’s, a senior Chinese official said on Wednesday, meaning that such spending is growing at a pace faster than the overall growth rate of the Chinese economy.

The increase, which is set to be confirmed on Thursday at the meeting of the National People’s Congress, is in line with the overall rise in government spending in the current year, NPC spokeswoman Fu Ying told a press conference on Wednesday.

China, which has raised its defense budget over the last five years by double-digit numbers, says the budgets are simply aimed at modernizing and improving its 2.3 million-member army, the largest standing military in the world.

“Our country will achieve modernization, of which national defense modernization is an important part,” Fu said, adding, “This requires a certain guaranteed amount of funding.”

However large, China’s budget is still less than a third of the US military spending, proposed for this year to be USD 534 billion along with USD 51 billion for the operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Beijing also maintains that its military might is aimed at securing peace rather than engaging in territorial disputes with its neighbors, which react quickly to changes in China’s military budgets.

Japan, for instance, raised its defense budget by 2.8 percent to a record USD 42 billion this year.

The country has long been engaged in a dispute with China over the sovereignty of the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku Islands in Japanese and the Diaoyu Islands in Chinese.

MSM/HJL/HRB

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