China announced a double-digit increase in its secretive military budget on Friday but insisted the annual outlay of more than 90 billion dollars posed no external threat, despite concern worldwide. The defence budget will rise 12.7 per cent in 2011 to 601.1 billion yuan ($91.7 billion), according to Li Zhaoxing, spokesman of the national parliament and a former foreign minister.
He said the figure was contained in a budgetary report submitted for approval to the Communist Party-controlled National People’s Congress, which opens its annual 10-day session on Saturday.
“China has always paid attention to controlling the size of defence spending,” Li told reporters, describing spending as “relatively low” as a percentage of gross domestic product compared with the rest of the world. Li said the figure represented six percent of the total national budget in the world’s second-largest economy.