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China Announces 13 Percent Boost In Military Budget

Recruits in People's Liberation Army training at a military base in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region
China has announced an almost 13 percent increase in its annual military budget.

A spokesman was providing the figure one day ahead of the opening of the National People's Congress, the legislature of China's communist-led regime.

The spokesman said the draft defense budget for 2011 was set at 601 billion yuan, or $91.5 billion -- up 12.7 percent from 2010.

Chinese leaders have said a bigger defense budget is needed to modernize the country's 2.5 million-strong People's Liberation Army, and that the buildup is for defensive reasons only.

Reports say China is believed to rank second, behind the United States, on the list of the world's biggest spenders on the military.

compiled from agency reports