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China boosts defense budget by 10 percent

China unveiled a 10.7 percent increase in military spending.

China defense budget 10 percentEnlarge
A group of soldiers make their way in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 4, 2013. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

HONG KONG — China plans to boost its military expenditure by 10.7 percent, according to the budget it unveiled on Tuesday at parliament's annual meeting.

China plans to spend 740.6 billion yuan ($119 billion) on its army, to modernize its arsenal at a time when it is engaged in territorial disputes with several neighbors.

China has the second largest military budget after the United States.

GlobalPost Senior Correspondent in Hong Kong, Ben Carlson, said that China is actually spending less on its military than on its domestic security appartus.

"When seen as a percentage of the overall budget, military spending has actually gone down in recent years," he said.

The United States, meanwhile, spent nearly six times more on defense than China in 2012, but is now facing 13 percent cuts on defense programs because of the spending cuts known as sequestration.

"China's peaceful foreign policies and its defensive military policies are conducive to security and peace of Asia," said Fu Ying, a spokesperson for the first session of the 12th National People's Congress, according to state run news agency Xinhua.

China has been building new submarines and ballistic missiles, and testing technology to destroy incoming missiles. It also showcased its first aircraft carrier and a stealth fighter jet in recent years.

Premier Wen Jiabao said the government "should accelerate the modernization of national defense and the armed forces ... (and) should resolutely uphold China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and ensure its peaceful development," according to Reuters.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/130305/china-boosts-defense-budget-10-percent