China to increase 2018 defence budget by 8.1%

China to increase 2018 defence budget by 8.1%

Beijing : China will raise its defence budget by 8.1 per cent in 2018, according to a budget report to be submitted to the national legislature on Monday, up from last year’s 7 per cent.

The 2018 defence budget will be 1.11 trillion yuan ($175 billion), according to the report available to media before the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress opens on Monday, Xinhua reported.

Although slightly higher than the previous two years, the growth rate is the third time to dip into the single digit since 2013, following 7.6 per cent in 2016 and 7 per cent in 2017.

China’s defence budget takes up a smaller share of its gross domestic product (GDP) and national fiscal expenditure compared with other major countries, said Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the first annual session of the 13th NPC, at a press conference on Sunday.

Its military spending per capita is also lower than other major countries, Zhang said.

“A large part of the growth of the defence budget is to make up for the low military spending in the past and is mainly used to upgrade equipment and improve the welfare of servicemen and women and the living and training conditions of grassroots troops,” he said.