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Report: China to raise defense budget in 2011

By the CNN Wire staff
China announces an increase of $91 billion to its military budget.
China announces an increase of $91 billion to its military budget.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • China announces 12.7% hike in defense budget, according to Xinhua news agency
  • The draft defense budget is up 67.6 billion yuan from 2010, report says
  • Defense spending accounts for 6% of nation's total budget, report says

(CNN) -- The government of China announced Friday that it plans to increase its defense budget by 12.7%, according to Xinhua news agency.

Li Zhaoxing, a former foreign minister for the Chinese government, made the announcement at the Fourth Session of the 11th National People's Congress, the news service reported. Li is the spokesman for the session, according to Xinhua.

The planned increase in China's defense budget would mark the second hike in military spending in as many years, according to the government. In 2010, China increased its defense budget by 7.5% from the previous year, Li said.

In 2011, China plans to increase defense spending by 67.6 billion yuan to a total of 601 billion yuan, according to Li. The sum is the equivalent of $91 billion U.S., he said.

The planned budget increase does not reflect a change in the nation's military aspirations, Li said.

"The limited military strength of China is solely for safeguarding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity and would not pose a threat to any country," Li said, according to Xinhua.

"The government has always tried to limit military spending and it has set the defense spending at a reasonable level."

The government plans to use more of its defense budget to improve its armament, training and human resource development as well as raise living standards for China's armed forces, he said.

The government is not under-reporting the amount of money it plans to spend on defense, he said

"There is no such thing as a so-called hidden military expenditure in China. And the budget is subject to auditing from the government and military."

China's ratio of defense spending to gross domestic product is less than many countries, Li said. That includes the United States, which Li said, is spending $725 billion in 2011, the news service reported.