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China’s defense budget growth rate drops to around 10 pct

Updated: Mar 4,2015 12:10 PM     Xinhua

Fu Ying (C), spokesperson for the third session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) addresses the press conference on the third session of the 12th NPC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 4, 2015. The third session of the 12th NPC is scheduled to open in Beijing on March 5.[Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — China will raise its defense budget by around 10 percent this year, compared with last year’s 12.2 percent, a spokeswoman for the annual session of the country’s top legislature said on March 4.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference a day ahead of the Third Session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC), Fu Ying said the exact figure will be published in a budget report on March 5.

China’s defense budget rose by 12.2 percent last year, riding on a multi-year run of double-digit increases.

A growth rate of about 10 percent could be the lowest in five years.

Fu said as a big country, China needs an army that can safeguard its national security and people.

“To tell the truth, there is still a gap between China’s armed forces (and foreign counterparts) in terms of overall military equipment. We still need more time,” said Fu, adding that capital support is needed for the modernization of China’s national defense and its army.

“Lagging behind leaves one vulnerable to attacks. That is a lesson we have learned from history,” she said, adding that China’s defense policy is defensive in nature.