Bus ushers jump as they pose for photographs in front of the Great Hall of the People during the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing, Friday, March 3, 2017. Thousands of delegates have gathered at the Chinese capital for the opening of the annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which advises the rubberstamp parliament, whose annual session begins Sunday. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

China says defense budget to rise by about 7 percent in 2017

March 03, 2017 - 10:51 pm

BEIJING (AP) — China says its defense budget will rise by about 7 percent in 2017, continuing a trend of lowered growth amid a slowing economy.

The precise figure will be provided by Premier Li Keqiang in his address Sunday morning at the opening of the legislature's annual session.

Depending on the final number, that could mark the third consecutive year of declines in the rate of growth of defense spending.

Fu Ying, spokeswoman for the legislature, the National People's Congress, released the rough figure at a news conference on Saturday. She reiterated China's contention that its military was purely for defense and represented a force for stability in Asia.

China's new military capabilities include aircraft carriers, long-range bombers and its first overseas military base located in East Africa.

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