China boosts 2013 defence spending by 10.7 percent
Beijing, March 5 : China will boost its official defence budget by 10.7 percent this year, the latest in a series of hikes in military spending stretching back more than two decades, RIA Novosti reported.
On Tuesday, the government said in a draft budget submitted to the National People's Congress (NPC), or the Chinese parliament, that it would boost military spending to Rmb720 billion ($115 billion) in 2013.
Last year's defence budget was $103.6 billion, 11.6 percent more than the previous year (2011).
"The funds will be used to improve the working and living conditions of officers and soldiers in all military units, enhance mechanisation and provide IT services to the armed forces in the interest of ensuring national defence security," the draft budget says.
China's rising defence spending is causing serious concern in the West and to some of its neighbours.
According to some forecasts, its defence spending will reach $238 billion by 2015.
Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao promised stable growth, anti-corruption efforts and better welfare provision as he opened an annual session of parliament Tuesday morning, BBC reported.
The prime minister, whose work report traditionally begins the session, also called for more balanced development in a lengthy speech on both achievements and plans.
The NPC will see the final stage of the country's once-in-a-decade leadership change.