The Chinese government announced today that it is going to raise the defense budget for 2010 to 532.1 billion yuan ($77.9 billion USD), up 7.5 percent from actual spending in 2009, the smallest increase in the recent years.
"'China is committed to peace," said Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the National People's Congress (NPC), as he announced the figure at a news conference.
"The sole purpose of China's military strength is to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said.
China's past double-digit increase in its national defense budget has been taken as a serious threaten by some foreign countries, including Japan, India and the U.S.
At the same conference, just before unveiling the figure, China said it wanted to be clear that it has no intention of challenging the U.S.
"We need to think more on how to preserve national integrity. We have no intention of challenging the U.S.," said Luo Yuan, a senior researcher with the Academy of Military Sciences. Yuan said China is the only permanent member of the UN Security Council that has not achieved territorial integrity, reports China Daily.
Zhao Qizheng, spokesman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said only about a third of China's military spending went to research, development and buying new weapons, adding the amount "maybe not enough to buy a B2 bomber."