China to increase defence budget by 7.2%

China announced on Sunday that it will increase its military expenditure by 7.2 percent, to reach $230bn in the new draft budget report, according to Reuters.

The new figure of around 1.55 trillion yuan for defence spending was announced during the National People’s Congress (NPC), a key yearly political event in China attended by major political figures.

This surge in military spending is the second in row in which military expenditure increase exceeded 7 percent. The announced increase in 2023 military budget is still surpassed by the increase in military expenditure in 2019, which amounted to 7.5 percent. It is the first time in the past decade that military expenditure increases three years in row.

NPC spokesperson Wang Chao insisted that, despite this increase, “China’s defence expenditure as a percentage of GDP has remained stable over the years. It remains basically stable, lower than the world average.”

An article published last October in the official journal of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence mentioned the recommended increase in expenditure is about “defending our national security” rather than participating in an international arms race.

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