A spokesman for Taiwan’s main opposition Democratic Progressive Party accused China of being two-faced.
“China has been stressing a peace agreement with Taipei and portraying a peaceful image, but its high military budget and provocative actions in the East and South China Seas disputes run contrary to this image,” said Lin Chun-Hsien.
Japan and China have locked horns over islands each claims in the East China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines and other nations have challenged Beijing over claims to swathes of the South China Sea that could be rich in oil and gas.
Over the past six months, China’s stand-off with Japan over a series of uninhabited rocky islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China has become more acrimonious.
The increase announced in the national budget is at a slightly slower pace than the 11.2 percent rise planned for last year, though actual spending in 2012 reached 691.3 billion yuan compared with the budgeted 670.3 billion yuan.
Beijing’s public budget is widely thought by foreign experts to undercount its real spending on military modernisation, which has unnerved Asian neighbours and drawn repeated calls from Washington for China to share more about its intentions.
“Traditionally, space development and the development of new weapons have not been included in defence spending in China. Even though China spends a lot in (defence-related) space programmes, it would not show,” said Toshiyuki Shikata, professor at Japan’s Teikyo University professor and a retired general.
(Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in TOKYO, Clare Jim in TAIPEI and Paul Eckert in WASHINGTON; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)