Asia

China rejects accusations keeping defense budget under wraps

  • Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie waves as he arrives for a press conference on the sideline of the National People's Congress at the media center in Beijing, Tuesday, March 7, 2017.  China's finance minister is rejecting accusations that the country is keeping its defense budget under wraps.  Xiao's remarks came after China released its national budget without the usual figure for defense spending. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie waves as he arrives for a press conference on the sideline of the National People's Congress at the media center in Beijing, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. China's finance minister is rejecting accusations that the country is keeping its defense budget under wraps. Xiao's remarks came after China released its national budget without the usual figure for defense spending. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie pauses while listening a question from a journalist during a press conference on the sideline of the National People's Congress at the media center in Beijing, Tuesday, March 7, 2017.  China's finance minister is rejecting accusations that the country is keeping its defense budget under wraps.  Xiao's remarks came after China released its national budget without the usual figure for defense spending.  (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie pauses while listening a question from a journalist during a press conference on the sideline of the National People's Congress at the media center in Beijing, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. China's finance minister is rejecting accusations that the country is keeping its defense budget under wraps. Xiao's remarks came after China released its national budget without the usual figure for defense spending. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie is displayed on a camera monitor during a press conference on the sideline of the National People's Congress at the media center in Beijing, Tuesday, March 7, 2017.  China's finance minister is rejecting accusations that the country is keeping its defense budget under wraps.  Xiao's remarks came after China released its national budget without the usual figure for defense spending. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie is displayed on a camera monitor during a press conference on the sideline of the National People's Congress at the media center in Beijing, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. China's finance minister is rejecting accusations that the country is keeping its defense budget under wraps. Xiao's remarks came after China released its national budget without the usual figure for defense spending. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)  (The Associated Press)

China's finance minister is rejecting accusations that the country is keeping its defense budget under wraps.

Xiao Jie's remarks came after China released its national budget without the usual figure for defense spending.

Xiao told reporters Tuesday that there was "no such thing as opacity in China's military spending," but that changes had been made in the way the information was prepared.

A finance ministry official on Sunday told The Associated Press that the budget was rising 7 percent to 1.044 trillion yuan ($151 billion) this year, its highest level ever.

The U.S. and others have routinely asked China to be more forthcoming about the goals of its ambitious military modernization program, under which the budget has grown by double-digit percentages for most of the past two decades.