China's military budget is set to increase again, the spokesperson for its "rubber-stamping" parliament has said, before a week-long political meeting expected to make big changes to China's system of governance and increase measures to combat international sanctions, a media report said.
The spokesperson for the National People's Congress, China's legislative body, addressed the media on the eve of its annual meeting to outline the week's agenda, including changes to the constitution and the legal sector, and endorsing new appointments to senior roles, The Guardian reported.
Wang Chao said that the defense budget rises as a proportion of GDP had been moderate and below global averages. Last year's 1.45 trillion yuan (190 billion pound) budget was a rise of 7.1 percent and followed a rise of 6.8 percent in 2021 and 6.6 percent in 2020, the media outlet reported.
Wang did not say by how much the budget would increase, but said it was "appropriate and reasonable" and was needed for China to meet complex security challenges and to "fulfill its responsibilities as a major country".
"The modernization of China's military will not pose a threat to any country," Wang said. "On the contrary, it will only be a positive force for safeguarding regional stability and world peace."
Under Xi Jinping's leadership, China has continued to significantly expand and overhaul its military. However, information about actual spending compared with budget announcements remains opaque, with the US defense department estimating it could be 1.1 to 2 times higher. (KB/IANS)