China continues to increase military spending. Pic: AP.

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese spokeswoman says the country’s military is prepared to respond to all provocations, ahead of the expected announcement of another big bump in defense spending.

Legislative spokeswoman Fu Ying said Tuesday that China supports resolving disputes through negotiations and the 2.3 million-member People’s Liberation Army is for defensive purposes. However, Fu said the military was ready to make an “effective response” to protect the country’s sovereignty and maintain regional security.

Fu’s remarks come amid festering disputes between China and her neighbors over the control of islands and sea lanes in the East China and South China Seas.

China will announce its latest defense budget on Wednesday. Defense spending rose 10.7 percent last year to 720 billion yuan ($114 billion), the most for any nation apart from the U.S.