China plans to raise its defense budget by 12.2% to 808.2 billion yuan (US$132 billion) this year, according to a budget report to be reviewed by the national legislature on Wednesday.
In 2013, the country spent 720.2 billion yuan (US$117.4 billion) on national defense, a 10.7% increase from the previous year.
|Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Geng Yansheng|
Double-digit growth in China’s defense budget in recent years has caused some concerns from western countries. But experts said China’s military expenditure is moderate and in line with the country’s economic conditions.
Yin Zhuo, director of the Expert Consultation Committee of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, said the country’s military spending is still far from the level it needs to be as it faces increasingly severe security challenges.
Although the rise in the defense budget in the past three years has surpassed GDP growth, the spending’s share in GDP, which came in at 1.4%, is still far below the world average of 3%, Yin said.
A report released by London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies showed the United States remained the world’s biggest defense spender last year, with a budget of US$600.4 billion in 2013.