BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- China plans to increase its national defense spending by 7.5 percent to 519.082 billion yuan (about 76.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2010, according to a draft budget report.
The figure, about 36 billion yuan more than that of last year, consists of 518.577 billion yuan of central government spending and 505 million yuan of transfer payments to local governments.
These funds will be used mainly to modernize the army, according to the draft submitted to the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, which started its annual session Friday morning.
Ding Jiye, deputy head of the General Logistics Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), offered a more specific breakdown of the defense spending.
"These funds would be used for the PLA's mechanization and informationization, to support the reform of army and improve its capability to deal with varied threats and complete diversified tasks," Ding told Xinhua Friday.
Part of the money would also be spent to improve the servicemen's living standards, as well as basic military facilities, Ding said.
Although China's defense expenditure had been on rise over the past years, "its growth was still limited and the defense spending still fell short," he said.
The PLA would make more efficient use of the defense expenditure to further improve its capabilities, Ding said.
Friday's draft budget report added that China's national defense spending in 2009 came to 482.985 billion yuan, 102.1 percent of the budgeted figure and a year-on-year increase of 72.844 billion yuan or 17.8 percent.
These funds were also used to improve the living conditions and benefits of army officers and enlisted personnel, intensify the development of informationization, increase the army's equipment and supporting facilities by an appropriate amount, and improve its ability to respond to emergencies and disasters.