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China defense budget to rise 10.7 percent in 2013—Xinhua


09:56 AM March 5th, 2013

March 5th, 2013 09:56 AM

Members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) march from Tiananmen Square to the Great Hall of the People to attend sessions of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing Monday, March 4, 2013. In a rare move, China on Monday declined to reveal its defense budget request for 2013. It has been customarily that the country announces its defense spending plan for a new year at a press conference that is held a day before the opening of an annual session of the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament. AP/Andy Wong

BEIJING—China’s defense budget is set to rise 10.7 percent this year, state media said on Tuesday as the national parliament’s annual gathering opens, a slight drop from a 11.2 percent increase in 2012.

“China plans to raise its defense budget by 10.7 percent to 720.2 billion yuan” [$115.7 billion] in 2013, the Xinhua news agency said, citing a budget report that will be reviewed by the National People’s Congress (NPC), the national legislature.

China’s military budgets have risen steadily in recent years along with the country’s booming economic growth, and experts say the actual totals are usually substantially higher than the publicly announced figures.

The increases have become a sensitive topic as they come with China taking what some neighboring countries consider a more assertive military stance on long-simmering territorial disputes.

In a departure from normal practice, the legislature had declined to announce the 2013 defence budget at a press conference on Monday, when NPC spokeswoman Fu Ying responded with frustration when she was asked about the topic.

“It seems China has to explain every year to the outside world why we should strengthen national defence and why we should increase the military budget,” Fu said.

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