China's 2017 Defence Budget To Increase By 7%

  • China's 2017 Defence Budget To Increase By 7%

China's 2017 Defence Budget To Increase By 7%

China announced on Saturday it was continuing a trend that has seen its military expenditure grow less and less rapidly over the past few years, despite pressure from some quarters for a boost in spending in face of proposals by Washington to raise the USA defense budget for 2017 by 10 percent.

The precise figure for the 2017 defense budget will be provided by Premier Li Keqiang during his speech at the NPC on Sunday morning.

Ms Fu Ying, spokesman for the National People's Congress (NPC), China's Parliament, said that the situation in the South China Sea is "calming down" as China and Asean countries have returned to consultations and negotiations over their disputes.

China's announcement of its military budget had been highly anticipated, as the country is involved in a territorial dispute in the South China Sea, where China claims an area contested by several other countries. Fu also said the percentage of GDP China spends on defense is below the 2 percent the US calls on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to spend.

China has territorial disputes with four Asean states - the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei - and tensions have risen in recent years over China's growing assertiveness in its claims, including building artificial islands on reefs it occupies and placing military facilities on them. "China has never brought any harm to any countries".

"Given the fact that China is working on many different modernisation programmes, including force re-organisation, force reduction and acquisition and procurement of new systems, people had expected a higher growth", he told The Telegraph.

Wang Hongguang, former deputy commander of Nanjing military area command, also expressed concerns about Trump's potential impact on relations with China, and is watching closely whether the reasonably smooth talks between the U.S. president and State Councillor Yang Jiechi would signal any turnaround.

After increasing military spending at double-digit rates for most of the past 25 years, the Chinese government began slowing the pace in recent years as the economy began downshifting.

U.S. President Donald Trump will formally submit his first budget to Congress later this month.

"Look at the past decade or so; there have been so many conflicts, even wars, around the world, resulting in serious, large numbers of causalities and loss of property, so many refugees destitute and homeless".

Chinese defence spending would stay at around 1.3 per cent of GDP, she added. The South China Sea, a waterway of strategic importance, has been at the center of tensions between multiple nations contesting waterway and offshore resources.

Spokeswoman Fu dismissed concerns about China's military.

"You should ask them what their intentions are", Fu added.

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Sean Spicer vowed in January that the US would stand up to China in the South China Sea.

Along with defending China's frontiers, the self-governing island of Taiwan remains a military priority for the 2.3 million-member People's Liberation Army, the world's largest standing military.

"As to the future development [of the settlement of these disputes], I think we also need to take into account the intentions on the USA side", she said, calling the United States' actions in the South China Sea a "weather vane" for the region.