U.S. criticises China’s growing military spending

China is not being clear about its intentions behind its increased military expenditure, according to the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates. The statement came after China announced plans to raise defence spending by almost a fifth this year.

If approved by the country's parliament it would bring the allocation to the Chinese army to nearly $US 59 billion.

Washington has frequently voiced concerns about the rapid rise in the Asian country's military spending, even though the annual U.S. defence budget remains more than eight times higher.

In February, George Bush asked Congress to for $US 606 billion for the U.S. military budget next year.

If approved it would be the 11th straight year of growth in the country's military spending.