BEIJING, China - China announced at the National People’s Congress on Monday that it is planning to increase its defence budget by 8 percent to 1.1 trillion yuan.
China, which boasts of the largest army in the world with approximately two million troops and the country has decided to boost its defence budget amid suggestions that America “won't feel happy” about its military growth.
China said that its defence budget will rise 8.1 percent to 1.1 trillion yuan this year.
This year, the country is also preparing to launch its second aircraft carrier, integrate stealth fighters into its air force and field an array of advanced missiles able to attack air and sea targets from vast distances.
On Monday, China released the new figures in a report to the National People’s Congress saying that it is an increase in the growth rate from last year.
China currently has the world’s second-largest defence budget after the United States.
Reading the report to nearly 3,000 delegates at the Great Hall of the People, Premier Li Keqiang said, “We will stick to the Chinese path in strengthening our armed forces, advance all aspects of military training and war preparedness.
Keqiang added that the armed forces will “firmly and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.”
He further noted that China has the world’s largest military by the number of personnel but noted that the country had “basically completed” the target of reducing the size of the armed forces by 300,000 troops.
However, Zhang Yesui, a spokesman for the legislature pointed out that China’s defence spending as a share of GDP and the budget remains lower than that of other major nations.
China’s defence budget this year comes to about 1.3 percent of last year’s GDP of 82.7 trillion yuan.
Shanghai military expert Ni Lexiong, however, said that rivals such as the U.S., Japan and India should be less anxious at the moderate rate of budget growth, although they “won’t feel happy” to see rapid enhancements in China’s air, naval, missile and anti-satellite capabilities.
Meanwhile, military commentator Song Zhongping said that China’s defence budget is so large now that double-digit annual percentage increases are no longer necessary.
He noted that new funds are going mainly to raise living standards for service members, increase training and prepare for potential crises on the Korean Peninsula, the border with India or in the South China Sea or Taiwan Strait.