AFP - China announced Wednesday that its defence spending would rise by 14.9 percent in 2009, as it insisted its expanding military power posed no threat to the rest of the world.
"China's defence expenditure for the year will increase modestly," the spokesman for China's parliament, Li Zhaoxing, told reporters.
The defence budget for 2009 is 480.686 billion yuan (70.2 billion dollars), an increase of 62.482 billion yuan from the previous year, he said.
The rise is slightly smaller than previous years, following a previously announced rise of 17.9 percent for 2008.
The United States, Japan and their allies have long expressed concern about China's military build-up, warning that the Chinese government has not been transparent in this sphere.
Li said these concerns were misplaced.
"China's limited military powers will be solely used for the purpose of safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said.
"This will not pose a threat to any country."
He emphasised that China's military spending was 1.4 percent of China's gross domestic product, compared with 4.0 percent for the United States and 2.0 percent for the United Kingdom and France.