|Beijing pumps up defense outlay to 808b yuan
China will raise its defense budget by 12.2 percent this year, the finance ministry said, another double-digit increase.
“The appropriation for national defense is 808.23 billion yuan, up 12.2 percent,'' it said in a budget report prepared for the annual session of the National People's Congress, the apex legislature.
Analysts believe actual military spending is significantly higher than publicized. The US Pentagon estimates that in 2012 it reached between US$135 billion and US$215 billion.
Beijing set an increase in military spending of 10.7 percent in 2013, following announced rises of 11.2 percent in 2012 and 12.7 percent in 2011.
The increases have raised concerns in the United States and Asia, particularly longtime rival Japan.
Tokyo's cabinet agreed in recent months to raise spending by 24.7 trillion yen (US$240 billion) from 2014 to 2019, representing a five percent boost over five years – and eliciting criticism from Beijing.
Japan's actions “must cause great concern to neighbouring countries in Asia and the international community,’’ defense ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in December.
Li Qinggong, deputy secretary-general of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies, said previously that Beijing will prioritise improving its high-tech sea, air and nuclear arsenals, with the main focus likely to be on China's navy, including adding aircraft carriers and strengthening fleets.—AFP