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China to raise defense budget due to U.S. interference

05 March, 2017, 00:24 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • Residential buildings under construction in Chongqing south-west China. The government may look to deter speculators

National People's Congress spokeswoman Fu Ying said China's total military spending will account for 1.3 percent of its projected gross domestic product in 2017.

US President Donald Trump has proposed a 10 per cent jump in defence spending this year, upgrading the US military's hardware and manpower.

Ahead of Sunday's annual National People's Congress, parliament announced China's smallest increase to its military spending in seven years and the second consecutive year below 10 percent.

Addressing worldwide concerns over China's growing military strength, Fu said: "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 destitute and homeless".

China's economy is expected to remain the strongest engine for world economic growth in 2017, a spokesperson of the top political advisory body said Thursday.

Fu did not specify the "disputes" or the country which would "meddle" in Chinese affairs, though she was apparently referring to the South China Sea and East China Sea territorial disputes.

Ms Fu dismissed concerns that China posed a threat to the region with its expanding military.

"It's not enough", a source with ties to senior Chinese officers told the Reuters news agency.

Late a year ago, the Chinese Navy seized a USA underwater drone in the sea that the Pentagon said was collecting data during a routine survey.

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The country said it was boosting its armed forces to "guard against outside meddling in disputes".

USA officials have described the island-building project as an attempt by China to assert military dominance in the area.

"We need the ability to safeguard our sovereignty and interests and rights", Fu said.

According to International Institute of Strategic Studies, the current USA defence budget was set at $598bn (£486.3bn).

The 10 per cent proposed increase for the United States defence budget of about Dollars 600 billion was expected to add another USD 54 billion to it.

"It's often in reaction to China's spending increases that neighboring countries also decide to strengthen their military capacities", he said.

Future trends in the region "will depend on United States intentions vis-a-vis the region and USA activities [which] to a certain extent set the barometer for the situation here", Fu said. "China has spent several billions of U.S. dollar to build artificial islands in the South China Sea for military goal, but the funding was categorised as Hainan province's local development", Chang said.

"President Xi Jinping and President Trump have had two direct phone calls, and the message was very clear, which is that there must be more cooperation between China and the United States so we become good partners", she said, according to the New York Times. "But the fact China kept it at this level means it's in a wait-and-see mode regarding the Trump administration".

China maintains that the United States has no place in the dispute and regularly accuses the USA government of "meddling" in Asian affairs.

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