China will boost military spending by 11.2 percent this year, the government said yesterday, unveiling Beijing's first defence budget since President Barack Obama launched a policy "pivot" to reinforce US influence across the Asia-Pacific.
The defence budget will rise 11.2 percent to 670.27 billion yuan ($106.41 billion), a double-digit increase on last year, said a spokesman for China's national parliament.
The figure marks a slowdown from 2011 when spending rose by 12.7 percent but is still likely to fuel worries over China's growing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region and push its neighbours to forge closer ties with the United States.
Li described the budget as "relatively low" as a percentage of gross domestic product compared with other countries and said it was aimed at "safeguarding sovereignty, national security and territorial integrity".
China has been increasing its military spending by double digits for most of the past decade, during which time its economy, now the world's second largest, has grown at a blistering pace.