China to increase 2017 military spending by 7 percent

Fu also noted that China's defense spending accounts for only about 1.3 percent of the country's GDP, compared with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members' pledge to dedicate at least 2 percent of GDP to defense.

She also added that the Session will take forward the spirit of the 18th National Congress of the CPC Central Committee, and implement tenets of policy addresses of General Secretary Xi Jinping and his new visions, thoughts and strategies on governance.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will announce China's economic growth target on Sunday.

Fu reiterated China's claim that its military was purely for defense and represented a major contribution to maintaining stability in Asia.

"We advocate dialogue for peaceful resolutions, while at the same time, we need to possess the ability to defend our sovereignty and interests", Fu said.

But its military capabilities remain modest compared to the United States, Fu said, adding that concerns about the country's military buildup are unwarranted.

"It's often in reaction to China's spending increases that neighbouring countries also decide to strengthen their military capacities", he said. Last year's proposed growth of 7.6% had been the smallest since 2010.

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"It's not enough", a source with ties to senior Chinese officers told the Reuters news agency.

China is spending more on its military each year, but the rate of growth has slowed.

"In particular, we need to guard against outside meddling in the disputes".

The announcement comes amid USA plans to boost military and security spending by 10 percent. USA activities, to a certain extent, are a barometer for the situation there.

The increase announced on Saturday would push China's total defense budget past 1 trillion yuan ($145 billion, 136.5 billion euros) for the first time.

US President Donald Trump has proposed a 10 per cent jump in defence spending this year, upgrading the US military's hardware and manpower. Fu also said the percentage of GDP China spends on defense is below the 2 percent the USA calls on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to spend.

"It's not yet certain what is going to happen to these people, and the military is clearly hoping for more money to deal with them", one senior Beijing-based Asia diplomat said before this year's defense budget was announced.

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"China's defense budget is formulated on the basis of its own needs and the domestic economic situation".

Wang, also vice chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the CPPCC National Committee, said China's overall economy is on upward trajectory and steady performance.

Spokeswoman Fu dismissed concerns about China's military.

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.

Trump, himself, managed to ruffle feathers in Beijing by speaking with President Tsai Ing-Wen of Taiwan following his election win in November.

An American aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, has been patrolling in the South China Sea for much of the past two weeks.

"As to how to the situation develops in future, that depends on US intentions".

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