01:17 GMT +322 October 2019
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    China's 2015 defense budget will increase 10% over the previous year, a continuation of a years-long expansion of the military and increased investment in high tech equipment.

    China Gives Military Budget Another Double Digit Raise

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    Asia & Pacific
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    China's 2015 defense budget will increase 10% over the previous year, a continuation of a years-long expansion of the military and increased investment in high tech equipment.

    The increase comes despite a slowing Chinese economy. State-run Xinhua news agency notes that it is a smaller increase than previous years. In 2014 the budget had increased by over 12% over 2013, and this year's would be the smallest increase in five years. 

    The total military budget will rise to 886.9 billion yuan ($141.45 billion) which will still be a distant second to the US' more than $600 billion in military spending in 2013. 

    The government characterized the increase as part of a drive to modernize, rather than preparations for a power-grab in the region. 

    "China has a tougher road to travel than other large nations in terms of national defense modernization. We can only rely on ourselves for research and development of most of our military technology," legislative spokeswoman Fu Ying said.

    "Meanwhile, we need to ceaselessly improve conditions for our soldiers," Fu added.

    The Chinese military has seen double-digit yearly budget increases for going on two decades at this point. And actual spending may even be greater than what is officially included in the budget.

    Other countries in the region are nervous about the constant military build up, particularly in light of tensions with Japan in the East China Sea over control of a chain of islands and the borders of the two countries' exclusive economic zones. 

    Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told Reuters that Japan worried the Chinese budget figure "lacks transparency."

    "It is true, regardless of China's defense spending, that the security situation in the region surrounding Japan is severe for various reasons," he added, noting the crucial nature of American support as a counter-balance.

    "On top of our own efforts in the field of diplomacy and defense, it is extremely important for our country to strengthen the US.-Japan alliance."

    The Chinese naval fleet pulled ahead of the US' by several measures recently. The US Navy has 71 commissioned submarines, while the Chinese have 77 principal surface combatant ships, 61 submarines, 55 large and medium amphibious ships, and about 85 missile-equipped smaller combatant ships.  

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    defense budget, military buildup, military budget, China
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