China defence spending to rise 12.2 percent in 2014

China will increase its official defence budget by 12.2 percent this year, the finance ministry said Wednesday, marking another double-digit increase in the rising giant's military spending.

"The appropriation for national defense is 808.23 billion yuan ($132 billion), up 12.2 percent," it said in a budget report prepared for the annual session of the rubberstamp National People's Congress, which opens Wednesday.

China has for years boosted its spending for its People's Liberation Army, reflecting its military ambitions as it asserts its global standing and its claims in a series of territorial disputes with Japan and other neighbours.

The budget increases have raised concerns in Asia and the United States, and analysts believe actual expenditures are significantly higher than those that are publicised.

Beijing set an increase in military spending of 10.7 percent in 2013, after announcing rises of 11.2 percent in 2012 and 12.7 percent in 2011.