China has said it would increase its defence spending by 7.2 percent in 2023, compared with 7.1 percent last year, as its outgoing premier warned of growing “external” threats to Beijing’s rise.
The country is expected to spend 1.55 trillion yuan ($225 billion) on defence this year, according to a report by the Ministry of Finance published on the opening day of the annual session of the country’s rubber-stamp parliament.
The increase is a shade higher than last year and broadly in line with the general pace of annual growth, but exceeds the annual GDP growth target of around five percent announced in a separate report
Beijing’s military budget is the second-largest in the world after the United States and last year stood at 1.45 trillion yuan ($210 billion), though many overseas analysts say much more money is spent than the officially announced sums.
China’s defence spending still pales in comparison with the United States, which has allotted over $800 billion for its military this year.
Beijing has funnelled billions of dollars into modernising defence in recent years, aiming to transform its huge military into a world-class force rivalling the US and other Western powers.
Military tensions have ramped up in the past year between China and the US, in particular over the status of Taiwan.