China increased budget on defense by 7% in 2017

China defenseChinese budget on defense this year will be increased by about 7% compared to 2016, almost as much as last year (7.6%). The exact figure will be named by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in his speech on Sunday at the opening of the annual session of the Chinese National People’s Congress.

Beijing regularly disclose such information in early March, but this year it takes place only days after US President Donald Trump announced that it intends to significantly increase (nearly 10%) military spending of the United States, which now are the largest in world.

According to official data, the Chinese defense budget for last year amounted to 954 billion CNY (132 billion EUR), but as Asian and Western analysts actual costs of Chinese armed forces are larger. The military budget of the Beijing scrutinize Asian neighbors, mainly because of his claims in the South China Sea.

Asked whether China will not pose a military threat, the National People’s Congress spokeswoman Fu Ying dismissed any criticism. “In the last 10 years the world had many conflicts and wars with countless victims and injured. Which ones were made by China?”, she asked, adding: “China is not detrimental to any country”.

Although China has increased its defense budget tenfold in 15 years, it remains far behind the US, which forces have 604.5 billion USD (575 billion EUR), according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The Beijing’s military spending, however, are significantly larger than the military budget of Russia (third in the world with 56 billion EUR), followed by Saudi Arabia (54.1 billion EUR), United Kingdom (49.9 billion EUR) and France (44.9 billion EUR) according to the same source.

The armed forces of China, whose workforce was reduced by half of the 80s of last century, remain the largest in the world in number (2 million), excluding NATO.