Chinese President Hu Jintao called for further increases in military spending Wednesday, state media reported. Speaking at an event celebrating the 80th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), Hu said that expanding China's military capability should be the goal of all Chinese citizens. China's stated defense budget for 2007 was US$44.94 billion, an increase of 17.8% over the previous year. Many analysts believe that China conceals much of its defense spending, however, and that the true number may be larger. Hu congratulated the PLA on 80 years of service to China and stressed the importance of improving the combat readiness of China’s 2.3 million soldiers. He also highlighted the importance of the military's submission to Communist Party guidance, saying that Party leadership was essential to maintaining "the right course".