China to raise 2016 defense budget by 7-8 pct: spokesperson


BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhua) — A spokesperson of the national legislature talked on Friday about what could be China’s slowest military budget increase for six years, as the world’s second largest economy feels the chill amid rising headwinds.

Fu Ying, spokesperson for the National People’s Congress annual session, said military spending is budgeted to grow by around 7 to 8 percent in 2016.

The exact figure will be released in a budget report to the session, Fu told a press conference.

China’s defense budget rose by 10.1 percent last year.

A growth rate within the range that Fu mentioned might be the lowest for years since 2010, when the figure stood at 7.5 percent.

The spokesperson said the raise in 2016 is in line with China’s national defense need and fiscal revenue.

China’s economy expanded 6.9 percent year on year in 2015, the slowest in one fourth a century, weighed down by a property market downturn, falling trade and weak factory activity.

Premier Li Keqiang will unveil the government’s GDP target on Saturday.

The figure is expected to be in a range between 6.5 and 7 percent, compared with the “approximately 7 percent” target announced by Li last year.

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