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China to increase defence spending

In line with a slower rate of economic growth.

China is planning to increase its official defence budget by 10.7 per cent in 2013, in line with last year’s 11.2 per cent hike and a 12.7 per cent increase in 2011.

The Chinese Government said that military spending would grow to 720bn Renminbi ($116bn) in 2013.

Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the PRC, said the country would aim for 7.5 per cent economic growth in 2013, unchanged from 2012 but lower than previous targets.

Adam Liff and Andrew Erickson, experts on Chinese military affairs, told the Financial Times: “In other words, China’s investment in its military development, while increasing at a rapid clip, has been outpaced by the government’s overall spending, and does not come close to dominating national priorities – in stark contrast to that of, say, the former Soviet Union.”

Fu Ying, a senior diplomat, refused to reveal the defence budget ahead of the official opening of the NPC today, breaking with traditional practice.

The country’s growing military capabilities have created disturbance among its neighbours and the US. Western defence experts have been criticising Beijing for failing to provide details of military budget spending.