China's defense budget will rise by about 10 percent in 2015, Beijing said Wednesday, extending a run of double-digit annual increases that reflects its broad military ambitions.
The estimate was announced by Fu Ying, a spokeswoman for China's Communist-controlled parliament, ahead of the figure's official release on Wednesday.
Last year, a budget report prepared for the National People's Congress (NPC) said that defense appropriations had risen 12.2 percent — a figure that raised eyebrows in the region and Washington.
"Now, I can reveal to you the general case, which is that the increase in proposed defense spending in the 2015 draft budget will be about 10 percent," said Fu.
The rise was in line with the central government's overall spending growth, she added.
China's defense budget saw stated increases of 10.7 percent in 2013, 11.2 percent in 2012 and 12.7 percent in 2011.
Analysts believe China's actual military spending is significantly higher than publicized, with the Pentagon estimating it at between $135 billion and $215 billion in 2012.
China's ruling Communist Party maintains that its military — the world's largest — is aimed at securing peace rather than engaging in disputes with its neighbors over territory in the East and South China Seas.
Beijing also frequently defends China's military rise by pointing to the "century of humiliation" the country endured during its partial occupation by European powers in the 19th century.
"Our lesson from history — those who fall behind will get bullied — this is something we will never forget," Fu told reporters.
"Our country will achieve modernization, of which national defense modernization is an important part," she added. "This requires a certain guaranteed amount of funding." (AFP)