China Increases Defense Budget by 7.2%

China announces 7.2% increase to defense budget

China announced a 7.2% increase in its defense budget on Tuesday, maintaining its position as the world’s second-highest spender after the United States, with a budget of 1.6 trillion yuan ($222 billion). This increase reflects a trend similar to last year’s.

Tensions with the U.S., Taiwan, Japan, and neighboring countries with claims in the South China Sea are contributing to the growth in advanced military technologies, ranging from stealth fighters to aircraft carriers and a growing nuclear arsenal.

The officially announced budget figure, made public at the legislature’s annual meeting, is just a fraction of the overall spending by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), once research and development expenditures and foreign weapons purchases are factored in.

Premier Li Qiang emphasized the commitment to modernize national defense and armed forces during his address to the assembly, which comprised around 3,000 carefully selected participants demonstrating unwavering loyalty to the Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping.

China’s defense budget has more than doubled since 2015 despite a considerable slowdown in economic growth. The country continues to assert itself in challenging the U.S. and its allies in Asia, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia, over territorial claims and regional influence.

While the Chinese economy faces challenges such as high youth unemployment and a struggling real estate market, Beijing remains ambitious on the global stage. Priorities include exerting influence over Taiwan, addressing border disputes with India, and asserting control over islands in the East and South China Seas.

In a recent incident, Chinese Coast Guard ships obstructed Philippine vessels near a disputed South China Sea shoal, resulting in a minor collision, as reported by the Philippine Coast Guard.

China Increases Defense Budget by 7.2%
China Increases Defense Budget by 7.2% (Credits: ABC News)

China’s rivalry with the U.S. spans political, economic, military, and technological domains, leading to tariffs, travel bans, and other retaliatory measures. China’s support for Russia amid the Ukraine conflict has further strained relations with Washington.

Despite China’s significant defense spending, the U.S. maintains its position as the top defense spender globally, with a proposed budget for fiscal year 2024 totaling $842 billion. The U.S. Navy’s transit of the Taiwan Strait, which China frequently protests, underscores ongoing tensions in the region.

The PLA’s Eastern Theater Command accused the U.S. of exaggerating the ship’s passage and asserted readiness to respond to threats.

In 2022, China’s defense spending accounted for 1.6% of its GDP, compared to 3.5% for the United States. However, the exact proportion of China’s spending remains unclear due to numerous civilian-military collaboration projects.

China’s regular military activities near Taiwan aim to weaken Taiwanese forces’ morale and equipment, reinforcing the message that reunification with the mainland is inevitable, even if force is required.

Hey, I'm Sharon Mittal . Writing has always been my hobby. I write articles on Asian entertainment, especially Kpop and Kdramas. Besides that, I also write about dating kinds of stuff and gossip.