Hong Kong [China], Mar. 4 : State-run media in China said Saturday that the nation's defence budget in fiscal 2017-18 is expected to grow by about seven percent.
According to the state-run Global Times, there is view that the defence budget should be pegged at 10 to 12 percent to match the United States, which has said that it could set aside 10 percent of its GDP for defence procurement.
There is also a feeling that the growth figure of seven percent for defence equipment procurement would leave large sections of the country's armed forces personnel disappointed.
A media report quoted one former military officer as saying, "A lot of people in the military won't be happy with this." Parliament spokeswoman Fu Ying was quoted, as saying, "defense spending would account for about 1.3 percent of GDP, the same level as the past few years." China's parliament, which begins its annual session from Sunday, will reveal the final growth figure.
The recent military build-up by China in the East and South China Sea region, as also its strident repeated territorial claim over Taiwan, has left other nations concerned and apprehensive President Xi Jinping had announced in 2015 that the defence budget would be cut, mainly by the end of 2017.
The defense budget was 954.35 billion Yuan (USD 138.4 billion) last year. A seven percent rise for this year would bring the figure to 1.02 trillion Yuan. The United States on the other hand proposes a ten percent increase in military spending to USD 603 billion.