China will increase its military budget by 14.7 percent this year to 283.8 billion yuan (US$35.3 billion; â‚¬28.6 billion), a government spokesman said Saturday.
The increase will pay for salaries, new equipment, training and higher fuel costs due to soaring oil prices, said Jiang Enzhu, a spokesman for China's parliament, which opens its annual session on Sunday.
"I wish to emphasize that China is a peace-loving nation," Jiang said at a news conference. "China is committed to a path of peaceful development."
Beijing's true military spending is believed to be as high as several times the reported figure, which doesn't include weapons purchases and other key items.