China continues trend of sinking defense budget growth
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.
China's parliament on Saturday announced the country will increase its military spending by 7 percent in 2017.
The new USA administration is seeking a $54 billion, or 10 percent, increase in defense spending for the next budget year starting in October from the level in the current year.
"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", she said.
While she didn't name the outsiders, Beijing often accuses the USA of interfering in the maritime disputes China has in the East China Sea with Japan and in the South China Sea with Vietnam, the Philippines and others.
The exact figure is to be provided by Premier Li Keqiang in an address to the National People's Congress when it opens for its annual session on Sunday.
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"The enhancement of China's capabilities is conducive to safeguarding regional peace and stability, not the contrary", she continued.
That trend reflects "the new normal, an acknowledgement that Chinese growth is plateauing as a whole", said Alexander Neill, a senior fellow for Asia-Pacific security for the International Institute for Strategic Studies based in Singapore. It would mark a 10% rise than the previous year, if his budget plan is approved by the US Congress.
"In particular, we need to guard against outside meddling in the disputes".
China's military build-up has rattled nerves around the region, particularly because Bejing has taken an increasingly assertive stance in its territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas and over Taiwan, which it claims as its own.
"China continues the consistent multidecade investment that has already given it what is undisputedly the second-largest defense budget in the world", said Andrew Erickson, an expert on China's military at the U.S. Naval War College.
NBC News reported last month that the us response to China's moves in the South China Sea were becoming more aggressive as it deploys additional military hardware in the area.
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"As to how the situation develops in the future, that depends on US intentions", Ms. Fu said. "But the fact China kept it at this level means it's in a wait-and-see mode regarding the Trump administration".
"It's often in reaction to China's spending increases that neighboring countries also decide to strengthen their military capacities", he said.
China is also dealing with increased tensions in the Korean Peninsula, where the US and South Korea are preparing to deploy a missile-defence system that China has long criticized.
She stopped short of criticizing Mr. Trump's proposal for raising US military spending, saying only that the Pentagon budget was already huge.
"China's industry production is bigger compared to US, Germany and Japan combined and China is very efficient in eliminating poverty", Wang Yiwei said.
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Mar 03 2017