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Chinese defense envoy hits US on budget claim

BEIJING—China’s defence ministry on Friday hit back at a US report which claimed Beijing underestimated its growing defence budget by nearly 20 percent, state-media said.

In an annual report required by Congress, the Pentagon said that China’s defence budget for 2013 was likely nearing $145 billion last year, higher than the officially announced $119.5 billion.

But China’s defence ministry said in a statement that it “resolutely opposes” the report, state-run Xinhua news agency said.

The report “makes pointless accusations, exaggerates the ‘Chinese military threat’ and is a completely wrong course of action,” Xinhua cited the ministry’s information office as saying.

The news agency’s dispatch did not directly address the claims that Beijing underestimated its defence budget.

The United States and its allies, especially Japan, have repeatedly voiced concern about the Chinese military’s lack of transparency amid growing tensions between Beijing and neighbouring countries over maritime disputes.

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