China will increase its defense spending by 11.2 percent this year, a government representative said on Sunday when the country disclosed its military budget.
China will spend 670 billion yuan ($106.4 billion) on defense in 2012, which represents an increase of $14.4 billion over the $92 billion spent on the military in 2011. Last year, the country's defense spending rose by 12.7 percent, according to Reuters.
China is committed to the path of peaceful development and follows a defensive national defense policy, Li Zhaoxing, a representative of the country's parliament, said at a press conference. China has 1.3 billion people, we have a large territory and a long coastline, but our defense spending is relatively low compared with other major countries, he noted.
The budget will be presented during the annual legislative session of the National People's Congress, which officially gets under way on Monday.
Questions have been raised internationally about the military intentions of China, which it has answered by saying they are groundless concerns.
China's defense spending as a share of [gross domestic product] in 2011 was only 1.28 percent. For the United States, Britain, and other countries, the figures all exceeded 2 percent, Li said. China's limited military strength is aimed at safeguarding sovereignty, national security, and territorial integrity. It will not pose a threat at all to other countries, he added.
China's defense budget is expected to double between 2011 and 2015, according to a report last month by IHS, a global research-information provider.