China will boost defense spending to US$58.8 billion this year, an 18% increase over 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported. A spokesman for the National People’s Congress, Jiang Enzhu, said the new funds will be used to raise pay for soldiers, cover higher fuel costs and purchase high-tech arms. The defense budget is the equivalent of about 1.4% of China’s GDP and will account for about 7.2% of total government spending. The announcement follows a recent report by the US Defense Department that voiced concerns over China’s military buildup. Jiang said that Chinese military spending remains smaller than such spending in the US and Britain and will pose no threat to other nations.
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