China Announces Increase in Military Spending Amid Rising Tensions With US
BEIJING — China announced a dramatic increase to its military spending on Sunday, March 5th, with a 7.2% rise to 1.55 trillion yuan (about $224 billion) as the world’s second largest economy’s defence budget. The increase comes amid rising geopolitical tensions with the United States on a range of issues, including Taiwan.
The annual National People’s Congress (NPC) session, the supreme legislative body, saw the release of a draft budget report by the Ministry of Finance. The report proposed a defense budget of 1.55 trillion yuan ($225 billion) for the 2023 fiscal year, a 7.2-percent year-on-year increase.
The military spending increases have been “reasonable” according to Parliament spokesman Wang Chao, president of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs. He said that the country’s defence spending as a share of GDP has remained stable over the years, and remains lower than the global average.
Premier Li Keqiang, in his work report presented to the opening session of the NPC, called for the armed forces to boost combat preparedness. The military was instructed to create new strategic guidance, increase their focus on training in combat conditions, and put increased effort into all aspects of military work.
In 2023, the United States military budget is set at $773 billion, more than any other country, with China a far second despite its wider global security responsibilities.
The work report also called for “resolute steps to oppose ‘Taiwan independence'” while sticking to Beijing's call for “peaceful reunification.”
China’s military modernization will not be a threat to any country but a positive force safeguarding regional stability and world peace, Wang Chao said in response to a question at a press conference.
The Chinese leadership stated that they would target an economic growth rate of approximately five percent for the year.
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