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China's Defense Budget to Go Up About 7% in 2017

China's Defense Budget to Go Up About 7% in 2017”

It came just days after President Trump pitched a 10 percent surge in U.S. military spending.

China will raise its defence budget by around 7 percent this year, Fu said.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is expected to announce Sunday, during remarks to the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, that the country will boost its defense budget by 7 percent.

Fu Ying, spokesperson for the fifth session of China's 12th National People's Congress (NPC), speaks during a press conference on the session at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 4, 2017.

She said the PLA faced daunting tasks in protecting China's territorial sovereignty and maintaining regional security, and preventing foreign forces from intervening in the South China Sea disputes.

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

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"China continues the consistent multidecade investment that has already given it what is undisputedly the second-largest defense budget in the world", said Andrew Erickson, an expert on China's military at the U.S. Naval War College.

Although there are concerns about China's increasing military strength, especially in light of growing tension in the South China Sea region, Fu rightly said that the United States military was still vastly superior to that of China. "China has never brought any harm to any countries".

Barthelemy Courmont, a senior research fellow at the Paris-based French Institute for global and Strategic Affairs, said it was understandable that a modernizing China would seek more advanced armed forces.

Trump has proposed to increase spending by $54 billion, a total closing in close to $600 billion.

But recent reports that Beijing may be militarising artificial islands in the South China Sea have raised concerns in Washington, which has long argued China's activities in the region threaten freedom of navigation through the strategically vital waterways, sending ships and aircraft to pass close to the growing islands.

It would mark a 10% rise than the previous year, if his budget plan is approved by the US Congress. She noted North Atlantic Treaty Organization members were being urged to spend 2% of GDP on defense-a higher level than China.

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"Look at the past decade or so, there have been so many conflicts, even wars, around the world resulting in serious, large numbers of casualties and loss of property, so many refugees destitute and homeless".

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to further strengthen his country's military buildup.

"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 defence budget was announced.

"You should ask them what their intentions are", Fu said. "We must not give Trump an excuse to accuse China of currency manipulation", Yu said.

Trump then publicly questioned USA support for the one-China policy, alongside constant criticism of China's currency tactics, threats to slap punitive tariffs on Chinese goods, and bluster over China's military build-up in the South China Sea - all of which are believed to have reinforced the concerns of the nation's top leaders who prize stability and predictability as top priorities.

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