Smallest increase in China's military spending in 7 years
Ahead of Sunday's annual National People's Congress, parliament announced China's smallest increase to its military spending in seven years and the second consecutive year below 10 percent.
Premier Li Keqiang will announce the precise figure for the country's military spending when he addresses the National People's Congress.
National People's Congress spokeswoman Fu Ying said China's total military spending will account for 1.3 percent of its projected gross domestic product in 2017.
China's defense spending increased by 7.6 percent to $146 billion in 2016 after the budget had regularly increased by double digits every year since 2010.
Beijing has focused on the country's naval capabilities, building artificial islands on reefs in waters with disputed ownership by other countries in the South China Sea. ■