- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

China announced Wednesday that it would increase its military budget by 12.2 percent this year — the largest spending hike for national defense purposes in three years.

President Xi Jinping will see to it that China’s defense budget jumps from roughly $117.26 billion to $131.57 billion in 2014, Reuters reported. It plans to funnel that money into increased coastal and air defenses.

“This is worrying news for China’s neighbors, particularly for Japan,” said Rory Medcalf, a regional security analyst at the independent Lowy Institute in Sydney, Reuters reported.

After Japan and Taiwan expressed displeasure with the announcement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang held a briefing in which he said that China would not have a military comprised of “boy scouts with spears,” Reuters reported.

“Some foreigners always expect China to be a baby scout,” continued Qin. “In that way, how can we safeguard national security and world peace?”

The move by China is seen in part as a reaction to the U.S. Pacific “pivot” into the region. China is also in an ongoing dispute with Japan over islands in the East China Sea.

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