China to increase 2017 military spending by 7 percent
China's defence budget is set to rise by 7 per cent this year 2017.
Ms. Fu didn't provide other details on this year's defense expenditure, expected to be included in an overall budget report Sunday, the opening day of an annual meeting of the legislature, known as the National People's Congress.
Ms. Fu, speaking to reporters, dismissed concerns voiced by the US and other foreign governments about China's military spending and operations, saying Beijing isn't responsible for recent conflicts in the world and wants a peaceful settlement of its territorial disputes in the region.
China said today that it will increase its defence spending by "around seven per cent" this year, as it vowed to guard against "outside meddling" in its territorial disputes.
Ms Fu yesterday assuaged fears over China's military capability.
The analyst said it is very likely that the United States would use China's defense budget increase as a "pretext" for expanding its activities in the South China Sea. Recent reports that China may be adapting artificial islands in the South China Sea for military purposes have caused concern in Washington as well. "At the same time we need the ability to safeguard our sovereignty and interests and rights", Fu said.
Associate Professor Li said that for countries in South-east Asia, looking at China's budget increase is not meaningful because of the "huge asymmetry" in their military capabilities.
Barthelemy Courmont, a senior research fellow at the Paris-based French Institute for worldwide and Strategic Affairs, said it was understandable that a modernizing China would seek more advanced armed forces.
Earlier this week, Donald Trump promised to increase USA military spending by 10 per cent, adding $54 billion to take the overall budget to $603 billion.
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The new increase could be the country's slowest defense budget rise in at least a decade. She noted North Atlantic Treaty Organization members were being urged to spend 2% of GDP on defense-a higher level than China.
"She added", Look at the past decade or so, there have been so many conflicts, even wars, around the world resulting in serious, large numbers of casualties and loss of property, so many refugees destitutes and homeless.
"The more important factor for countries in South-east Asia would be the actual security policy and behaviour of China in regional security issues like the South China Sea", he said.
According to Fu, China and some ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries have already returned to dialogue and consultation, and tensions in the South China Sea have shown trends of easing.
"China's military development and construction is to continue. American actions in the South China Sea have a definite significance in terms of which way the winds blow", she said, adding that the "gap in capabilities" with the United States is "enormous".
"Do not expect China to match United States, nevertheless Chinese Military modernisation and reforms will continue as planned".
"Thus the key question we should really ask is whether we are pursuing common security or exclusive security", Fu said.
Meanwhile, White House spokesman Sean Spicer vowed in January that the US would stand up to China in the South China Sea.
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Mar 03 2017