Defense budget to grow 12.7% to $91.5 billion

Updated: 2011-03-04 11:32
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Defense budget to grow 12.7% to $91.5 billion

Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the Fourth Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), answers questions from journalists during the news conference on the Fourth Session of the 11th NPC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 4, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua] 

BEIJING --  China said Friday it plans to raise its defense budget by 12.7 percent to 601 billion yuan (US$91.5 billion) in 2011, compared with 7.5 percent rise last year.

The year's draft defense budget was 67.6 billion yuan more than 2010, and accounted for about 6 percent of the country's total budget, said Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the annual session of China's national legislature.

"The government has always tried to limit military spending and it has set the defense spending at a reasonable level to ensure the balance between national defense and economic development," said Li.

The former foreign minister said China's defense expenditure is transparent and defensive in nature.

The bulk of the spending would go towards moderately improving armament, military training, human resource development, infrastructure of grassroots units and the living standards of the servicemen, said Li.

"China is committed to peaceful development and a national defense policy that is defensive in nature," said Li.

He said, compared to the world's average, China's military spending is low given its 1.3 billion population, vast land and long coastal lines.

"The limited military strength of China is soley for safeguarding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity and would not pose a threat to any country," said Li.