China to raise defense budget by about 7 percent


China will increase its defense budget by around seven percent in the fiscal year of 2017, and the overall military spending will account for about 1.3 percent in GDP, said Fu Ying, spokeswoman for the coming annual meeting of national legislators.

Fu said these figures were decided by the Chinese government based on economic conditions and national defense requirements.

She made these remarks in response to questions from the United States’ Cable News Network on China’s defense expenditures and whether it has something to do with the sharp rise in the military budget of the US.

The nation’s defense budget in the fiscal year of 2016 was set at 954.3 billion yuan, or $146 billion based on the exchange rate in March last year, a year-on-year increase of 7.6 percent. The increase in the fiscal year of 2015 was 10.1 percent.

Fu said there is no need for other countries to take caution against China’s defense measures because the nation has never caused any harm to others. The spokeswoman said China’s improvement of its defense capabilities is in the interest of regional peace and security.

“We always resort to dialogue to peacefully resolve disputes over territorial sovereignty and maritime interests. In the meantime, we must be capable of safeguarding our sovereignty and interests… We should be prepared for intervention from outside forces,” she told reporters.

Fu said the Chinese military’s “strategic intention” is to maintain common security with other nations.

She also noted that the international community is not as concerned about “navigation security” in the South China Sea as the US has claimed and the US’s objectives and moves would affect future development in this area.