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Chinese 2006 defence budget to rise 14.7 pct

Written by: Staff
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BEIJING, Mar 4: China is to spend 14.7 per cent more on defence in 2006 than it did last year, a spokesman for the national parliament said today, adding that the budget for military equipment would get only a moderate increase.

Extra money would be spent on salaries and fuel, among other things, spokesman Jiang Enzhu told reporters in a news conference ahead of the annual meeting of the National People's Congress opening tomorrow.

Jiang defended the plan to allocate 283.8 billion yuan this year to the defence budget, which is closely watched by advocat its of greater US military spending, especially if China strengthens its ability to seize Taiwan.

''China's defence budget has risen in recent years along with the development of its economy,'' Jiang said. ''But the proportion of the budget given over to defence spending is much the same as in past years.'' Developed countries such as the United States and Britain spent bigger chunks of their national economies and government budgets on defence, he said.

''China has no intention or capability of vigourously developing armaments,'' he added.

REUTERS

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