World Bulletin/News Desk
China unveiled another double-digit rise in military expenditure on Tuesday, but for a third year in a row the defence budget will be exceeded by spending on domestic security, highlighting Beijing's concern about internal threats.
Spending on the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will rise 10.7 percent to 740.6 billion yuan ($119 billion), while the domestic security budget will go up at a slightly slower pace, by 8.7 percent, to 769.1 billion yuan, according to the budget released at the opening of parliament's annual meeting.
The numbers underscore the ruling Communist Party's vigilance not only about territorial disputes with Japan and Southeast Asia and the U.S. "pivot" back to the region, but also about popular unrest over corruption, pollution and abuse of power, despite robust economic growth and rising incomes.
The number of "mass incidents" of unrest recorded by the Chinese government grew from 8,700 in 1993 to about 90,000 in 2010, according to several government-backed studies. Some estimates are higher, and the government has not released official data for recent years.
In his "state of the nation" address to the largely stamp legislature, Premier Wen Jiabao listed maintaining social harmony and stability as one of the government's priorities for this year.
"We should improve the mechanism for assessing potential risks major policy decisions may pose for social stability ... The purpose of this work is to preserve law and order and promote social harmony and stability."
CHINA'S MILITARY AMBITIONS
Still, defence spending is contained at about 5.4 percent of total expenditure, up from 5.3 percent last year, and remains at about one-fifth of the Pentagon's outlays. But even with its worries about domestic problems, China has become increasingly assertive on the world stage.
Wen said the government "should accelerate the modernisation of national defence and the armed forces ... (and) should resolutely uphold China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and ensure its peaceful development".
China has advertised its long-term military ambitions with shows of new hardware, including its first test flight of a stealth fighter jet in early 2011 and its launch of a fledgling aircraft carrier - both trials of technologies needing years more of development.
Beijing is also building new submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles as part of its naval modernisation, and has tested emerging technology aimed at destroying missiles in mid-air.
"At the UN, the leader of a country asked me which of the candidates I preferred. I responded: 'Do I prefer the bad over the worse, or the worse over the bad?" Rouhani said at a speech in Arak in central Iran.
In meetings at the exclusive Jingxi Hotel, safe from the public's prying eyes, nearly 400 top members of the Chinese Communist Party will confer for four days, discussing changes to how the giant party will be managed.
After Beijing visit, Philippine leader hopeful fishermen will be able to access area to which China has restricted access
The move follows complaints from conservatives that foreign energy companies are being allowed to take the lead on major projects as Iran emerges from international isolation following its nuclear deal with world powers.
Police say 17 men arrested while waiting to receive money from families to pay extra to be smuggled to Malaysia
Duterte’s comments in China lead to uncertainty about how Japan’s diplomats are expected to respond to Manila’s turnaround
Police say festival was underway at park in Tochigi prefecture, investigation ongoing
Culture and entertainment suffers as nationalistic sentiment stirred by India-Pakistan tension
Three senior members of the Afghan Taliban held a series of meetings with Pakistani officials in the capital to brief them about the recent secret talks with Kabul held in Qatar
Military says 19 people arrested this week admitted they were involved in fatal attacks on police outposts
A US warship sailed past the South China sea, with two Chinese naval vessels sending a warning to the ship
State union with 300,000 employees could strike over pro-independence workers being sacked
Day after Philippines leader declares separation from US, ministers say was merely signaling stronger ties with neighbors
Three-year plan aims to promote relations between two foreign ministries
Islamabad court orders police to arrest PTI leader Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri over 2014 protests
Military gov’t earlier said sought to seize Yingluck Shinawatra's assets to repay debt accrued under gov't scheme