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China plans double-digit boost in military spending

China will raise its military spending by 11.2 percent in 2012 as the Asian giant worries about the US presence in the region.

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Military delegates walk before the annual session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress, in Beijing Sunday. China will increase military spending by 11.2 percent this year, building on a nearly unbroken succession of double-digit rises in the defence budget across two decades.

Jason Lee/Reuters

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China said Sunday that it would boost its defense spending by 11.2 percent in 2012, the latest in a nearly two-decade string of double-digit increases.

Although the planned figure is less than last year's 12.7 percent increase, China's military leaders have said they are unhappy with recent moves by the Obama administration to increase the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Only twice since the early 1990s has the increase been less than double digits.

National People's Congress spokesman, Li Zhaoxing, said China's defense spending would increase by 11.2 percent over actual spending last year to hit 670.2 billion yuan ($106.4 billion) in 2012, an increase of about 67 billion yuan.

China's official defense spending is the largest in the world after the United States, but actual spending, according to foreign defense experts, may be 50 percent higher, as China excludes outlays for its nuclear missile force and other programs.

Li, speaking at a news conference a day before the opening of the annual session of the congress, said China's military spending was small as a percentage of gross domestic product compared to other countries, especially the United States.

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