China will raise its defense budget by around 10% this year, compared with last year's 12.2%, a spokeswoman for the annual session of the country's top legislature said Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference a day ahead of the Third Session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC), 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%," Fu said.
"To tell the truth, there is still a gap between China's armed forces [and foreign counterparts] in terms of overall military equipment. We still need more time," she said, adding that capital support is needed for the modernization of China's national defense and its army.
China's defense budget rose by 12.2% last year, riding on a multi-year run of double-digit increases, according to China's (Xinhua) News Agency.
A growth rate of about 10% could be the lowest in five years.
Fu said as a big country, China needs an army that can safeguard its national security and people.
The spokeswoman nonetheless noted that China's defense policy is defensive in nature, which is "clearly defined in the country's Constitution." 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.