China’s defence budget this year is likely to rise at its slowest pace since 2010, in line with the decelerating economy and by a much lower figure than had been expected in military and diplomatic circles.
Fu Ying, spokeswoman for China’s parliament, said the figure would increase by about seven to eight percent from 2015, following a nearly unbroken two-decade run of double-digit budget increases.
China’s military build-up has rattled nerves around the region, particularly because China has taken an increasingly assertive stance in its territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas.
Fu told a news conference the defence budget would be released on Saturday, when the annual session of China’s largely rubber-stamp legislative body opens.
It will be the first single-digit rise in spending since 2010, when the military budget logged a 7.5 percent increase.