China's defence spending set to rise around 7% in 2017
File photo. Photograph: (AFP)
China is set to raise it defence spending by "around seven per cent" this year, said Fu Ying, spokesperson of China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC).
She said China's defence spending will remain around 1.3 per cent of the country's GDP.
It also vowed to guard against "outside meddling" in its territorial disputes. China is embroiled in terriotorial disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.
Last year, China increased its defence spending by 7.6 per cent, allocating about 954 billion yuan (around $143.7 billion), the lowest increase in six years.
"We call for a peaceful settlement through dialogue and consultation (of the disputes). At the same time we need the ability to safeguard our sovereignty and interests and rights," Fu said.
"In particular, we need to guard against outside meddling in the disputes," she added.
Fu, however, did not elaborate on what "meddling" she was referring to and also did not mention the disputes in question.
China's announcement to increase defence spending comes after US President Donald Trump vowed a 10 per cent increase in America's military spending, which would add $54 billion to the US budget.
Also Read: Trump plans to beef up US defence budget
Much of China's defence budget was expected to go for the development of the navy.
The increase in China's military expenditure, especially for the navy, is aimed at safeguarding the country's fast expanding overseas interests and is in response to the unstable security situation in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese military experts were quoted as saying by the state- run Global Times last week.
Chu Yin, associate professor at the University of International Relations, said, China's rapid military development is a recurrent trend with the country's rising economic power, and is entirely legitimate and reasonable.
"It doesn't need Trump as an excuse," he told the daily.
(WION with inputs from PTI)