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China to 'Gradually' Increase Defense Budget
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Chinese President Hu Jintao said Wednesday that China is going to gradually increase its defense budget while its national economy grows.

"We will gradually increase input in national defense as the economy grows, and continue to modernize national defense and the armed forces in a way that serves the interests of national security and development," said Hu, also chairman of the Central Military Commission.

He was speaking at a grand rally marking the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The modernization of national defense and armed forces "is the historical mission of the PLA and the common cause of the Chinese people of all ethnic groups," Hu said.

"Economic growth is the basis for enhancing defense capabilities, which is in turn an important indicator of the overall national strength," Hu said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2007)

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