July 24 - Foreign media invited to review some of China's military. Julie Noce reports.
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EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL
The Chinese government gave foreign journalists a rare tour of a military base in Beijing.
Officers showed off the airforce's new elite multi-purpose Z-9 helicopter.
International concerns have grown recently over China's increasing military muscle-- especially in the South China Sea -- where China has asserted its sovereignty claims over a group of islands that Vietnam, the Philippines and China all claim as their own.
Chinese officials have raised the stakes by declaring of one islands a Chinese city.
Over the weekend, officials announced they would begin stationing troops on the island, and formally christened it during a ceremony.
But back in Beijing, when asked if those troops deployed to the island city would have Z-9 helicopters, officials remained vague.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) UNNAMED AIRFORCE CAPTAIN SAYING:
"I think if we need to be deployed, we should be able to deploy ourselves at a moment's notice. As for other (concerns), it is not convenient for me to answer your questions for now."
China is boosting military spending by 11.2 percent this year with a near-unbroken string of double-digit rises in military spending each year for the past two decades.
Even still, foreign experts widely believe China's official military budget underestimates its actual spending.
Julie Noce, Reuters
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