China has defended its booming military spending saying vast investments in the armed forces have contributed to global peace and stability, despite concerns among the US and Beijing’s Asian neighbours over sharpening territorial disputes.
However, in a break with previous years, no figure for this year’s defence budget was presented on the eve of the annual legislative session which will see new leaders placed into top government positions after they were elevated at November’s Communist Party congress.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Fu Ying, a spokeswoman for the National People’s Congress, said the figure would appear in the overall budget to be released Tuesday.
On the same day, party leader Xi Jinping will take over from Hu Jintao as president, as well as head of the government’s Central Military Commission, as part of China’s once-a-decade power transition.
In addition, the session approves top cabinet appointments such as the defence minister.
China’s defence spending has grown substantially each year for more than two decades, last year rising 11.2 percent to $106.4bn, an increase of about $10.7bn. Only the US spends more on defence. Read more…
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies