China plans to raise its defense budget by around 10 percent in 2015, marking double-digit spending growth for the fourth straight year, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday, citing a spokeswoman for the country's top legislature.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Beijing a day ahead of the annual session of the 12th National People's Congress, Fu Ying said the exact figure will be published in a draft budget report Thursday.
"I can give you a rough idea. The recommended growth rate for national defense in the draft 2015 budget report is about 10 percent," Fu was quoted as saying. "Compared with major countries in the world, the road to China's defense modernization is indeed a difficult one," she noted.
China's defense budget rose by 12.2 percent last year, riding on a multi-year run of double-digit increases. A growth rate of about 10 percent could be the lowest in five years.
China's past achievements in reform and opening up come not from "cannons and warships" but from mutually-beneficial cooperation, Fu said, adding that China will stick to the path of peaceful development. China's defense expenditure has often caused unease among some countries, such as the US and Japan, which demand Beijing to boost transparency in its military spending.