China says defense budget to rise 12.7%

BEIJING - China said on Friday its military spending for 2011 would rise 12.7 percent over last year, resuming double-digit hikes that have stoked regional disquiet about Beijing's expanding strength.
The increase in spending for the People's Liberation Army is likely to intensify concerns in Taiwan, Japan, India and other parts of Asia where other military forces are jostling against Beijing's expanded arsenal.
Chinese parliamentary spokesman Li Zhaoxing said the increase would bring the defense budget for the year to 601.1 billion yuan ($91.5 billion), compared to 532.1 billion yuan spent on defense in 2010. The budget went up by just 7.5 percent in 2010, after long periods of double-digit increases.
Li said the rise was justified and posed no threat.
"China's defense spending is relatively low by world standards," he said. "China has always paid attention to restraining defense spending."
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