China to raise 2016 defense budget by 7-8 pct

TOKYO, March 4 (KUNA) — China is expected to see the slowest military budget increase for six years in 2016 as the world’s second-largest economy feels the chill amid rising headwinds, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.
“Military spending is budgeted to grow by around 7 to 8 percent in 2016 from the previous year,” Fu Ying, a spokeswoman for the country’s top legislature, told a press conference in Beijing a day ahead of the annual session of the 12th National People’s Congress.
“The exact figure will be released in a budget report to the session on Saturday. The raise in 2016 is in line with China’s national defense need and fiscal revenue,” Fu was quoted as saying.
China’s defense budget rose by 10.1 percent last year. A growth rate within the range that Fu mentioned might be the lowest for years since 2010, when the figure stood at 7.5 percent, according to the report. China’s economy expanded 6.9 percent year on year in 2015, the slowest in one fourth a century, weighed down by a property market downturn, falling trade and weak factory activity, it said. (end).