China says, it will increase military spending by about 7 percent this year,as it vowed to guard against “outside meddling” in its territorial disputes, just days after Donald Trump outlined a boost to the US defence budget. The increase in defence spending was announced by Fu Ying, the spokesperson of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), ahead of its annual meeting. China will raise its defence budget by around 7 percent this year, Fu said. She said China’s defence spending will remain around 1.3 per cent of the country’s GDP.
The spokeswoman said China calls for a peaceful settlement of the territorial disputes through dialogue and consultation and at the same time, it need to guard against outside meddling in the disputes.
Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump said, he was seeking to boost defence spending by 10 per cent in his proposed budget plan for 2018.
Last year, China increased its defence spending by 7.6 per cent, allocating about 954 billion yuan (around USD 143.7 billion), the lowest increase in six years. China’s announcement to increase defence spending comes after US President Donald Trump vowed a 10 per cent increase in America’s military spending. The 10 per cent proposed increase for the US defence budget of about USD 600 billion was expected to add another USD 54 billion to it.
Much of China’s defence budget was expected to go for the development of the navy. The increase in China’s military expenditure, especially for the navy, is aimed at safeguarding the country’s fast expanding overseas interests and is in response to the unstable security situation in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese military experts were quoted as saying by the state-run Global Times last week.
Chu Yin, associate professor at the University of International Relations, said, China’s rapid military development is a recurrent trend with the country’s rising economic power, and is entirely legitimate and reasonable. “It doesn’t need Trump as an excuse.
A seven percent rise for this year based on last year’s budget would bring the figure to 1.02 trillion yuan ($147bn), still only a quarter or so of the US defence budget.
Graham Ong-Webb, a research fellow at Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, published that China’s military spending tended to focus on procurement and on modernising its capabilities.
China’s military build-up – and projection of naval power – has caused concerns in the region, where it has taken an increasingly assertive stance in territorial disputes.
Beijing has been building artificial islands on reefs in waters also claimed by other nations in the South China Sea.
Defending its right to build, China has said in the past that it has no intention of militarising the islands, but has acknowledged building what it calls necessary military facilities for defensive purposes.
There have been sporadic incidents between US and Chinese ships in the South China Sea. Late last year, a Chinese ship seized a US navy underwater drone off the Philippines, but later agreed to return it.
Chinese ships have also been involved in clashes and stand-offs with ships from Vietnam and the Philippines.
Japan signed off a record defence budget last December in the face of territorial disputes with China in the East China Sea and North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
In Beijing, Ms Fu said on Saturday that China advocated “dialogue for peaceful resolutions, while at the same time, we need to possess the ability to defend our sovereignty and interests”.