China says 2017 defense budget to expand around 7%

China says 2017 defense budget to expand around 7%

BEIJING, March 4 (PNA/Kyodo) — China’s defense budget will expand around 7 percent in 2017 from the previous year, a senior official said Saturday, as the Asian power’s push to modernize its naval and air forces continues in combination with its extensive territorial claims in regional waters.

A day before China’s parliament starts its annual session, Fu Ying, spokeswoman for the National’s People’s Congress, unveiled the budget’s estimated increase that is expected to push the whole amount above 1 trillion yuan (USD144.87 billion) for the first time.

Fu said the expansion is necessary for China to defend “national sovereignty and interests” and “guard (itself) against outsiders’ meddling in

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