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China has announced it will increase its defence budget by 12.7 per cent this year.

Officials in Beijing said on Friday, however, that a return to double-digit military growth is not a threat to other countries, despite concern worldwide.

The increase would put China's 2011 military budget at almost $92bn, according to Li Zhaoxing, spokesman of the national parliament and a former foreign minister.

But the plan must be rubber-stamped by the National People's Congress, which begins its meeting on Saturday.

"Since the NPC session has not yet formally opened, I would like to stress the word 'if', it is approved by the upcoming NPC session the defence budget for the year 2011 will be around 601.1 billion yuan," Li said.

Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan has more on the focus of this year's NPC meeting, which she reports is one of the few times of the year when China's leaders make major announcements.

Source: Al Jazeera