BEIJING: China will raise its defence spending by seven to eight percent this year, a top official said Friday, following years of double-digit increases as Beijing asserts its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
“China’s military budget will continue to grow this year but the margin will be lower than last year’s and the previous years,” said Fu Ying, spokeswoman for the National People’s Congress (NPC), the Communist-controlled parliament.
“It will be between seven to eight percent.”
The exact increase will be announced on Saturday at the opening of the NPC, Fu told reporters.
In 2015 the budget was increased by 10.1 percent bringing it to 886.9 billion yuan ($141.4 billion at the time).
Many analysts believe China’s actual military spending is significantly higher than officially publicised.