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China defends massive growth in military spending

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March 3, 2013 11:04 PM EST | AP


BEIJING — China is defending its booming military spending, saying its vast investments in the armed forces have contributed to global peace and stability.

However, in a break with previous years, no figure for this year's defense budget was presented at a news conference held Monday on the eve of the opening of the annual legislative session. Spokeswoman Fu Ying said the figure would appear in the overall budget to be released Tuesday.

Chinese defense spending has grown substantially each year for more than two decades, and last year rose 11.2 percent to 670.2 billion yuan ($106.4 billion), an increase of about 67 billion yuan.

Only the United States spends more on defense.

Fu cited U.N. peacekeeping and anti-piracy patrols as examples of China's contribution to world peace and stability.