Chinese President Hu Jintao says he will speed up modernisation of the country’s defence forces over the next five years.

Speaking at the opening of a twice-a-decade Communist Party Conference, Mr Hu said he is committed to the modernisation process.

“In keeping with the new trends in world military affairs and the new requirements of China’s development, we must promote innovation in military theory, technology, organisation and development,” Mr Hu said.

“We will adjust and reform the systems of defence-related science, technology and industry and of weapons and equipment procurement, and enhance our capacity for independent innovation in research and development of weapons and equipment.”

Earlier this year, China announced a 17.8% increase to its defence budget – the biggest increase in a decade.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh