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China is beefing up spending on high-tech weapons and upgrading combat readiness as it throws its military weight behind territorial claims that have stirred tensions with Japan and its Southeast Asian neighbors.

Premier Li Keqiang said the defense budget from the central government — which will rise 12.2 percent to 808.2 billion yuan ($131.6 billion) this year — would be used to modernize the force and enhance defense of its land, coastal and air boundaries.

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