China says military spending will go up 17.6 percent in 2008

Most of the increase will go to boosting salaries and to pay for higher oil prices, with moderate increased spending for armaments, said Jiang Enzhu, spokesman for the National People’s Congress.

He said spending would total $59 billion in 2008. Other countries say China vastly underestimates how much it spends on its military and the real figure could be three times as much as the publicly released figure.

China has said spending grew 17.8 percent during 2007, to nearly $45 billion. It was the largest annual increase in more than a decade.

Source: AP via IHT.