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World News | China’s defense budget rises 7.2% for 8th consecutive year to $225 billion

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The LATAM Airlines plane hit the vehicle on the runway (Image: Twitter / @AirCrash_)

BEIJING, March 5 (PTI) — China on Sunday increased its defense budget by 7.2 percent, slightly higher than last year, to 1.55 trillion yuan ($225 billion), marking its eighth consecutive year of increases in military spending, There is global unease about the increasingly aggressive behavior of the PLA.

China’s defense budget last year was 1.45 trillion yuan, an increase of 7.1%. Defense spending this year has increased to 1.55 trillion yuan.

Read also | China has increased its defense budget for eight consecutive years, increasing by 7.2% to US$225 billion.

However, given the appreciation of the dollar against the renminbi, China’s defense spending totals about $225 billion this year, according to state media China Daily.

Last year, China spent $230 billion on defense in dollar terms to modernize the People’s Liberation Army. This is the eighth consecutive year that China has announced a single-digit percentage increase in its military budget.

Read also | According to the International Monetary Fund, Pakistan is in the depths of an economic crisis.

Outgoing Premier Li Keqiang, in his work report to the opening session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s rubber-stamp parliament, spoke highly of the armed forces’ achievements at the border, but made no direct reference to unresolved issues. Ladakh’s eastern standoff with India.

“They carried out operations in a firm and flexible manner, and effectively carried out major tasks related to border defense, maritime rights protection, anti-terrorism and stability maintenance, emergency rescue and disaster relief, response to Covid-19, peacekeeping, and escort of merchant ships,” Li’s work report said.

The reference to “primary missions related to border defense” was seen as significant in the context of the PLA’s offensive operations in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India in May 2020, sparking a protracted standoff , almost freezing the relationship between the two countries.

The two sides held 17 rounds of high-level military talks to resolve the deadlock, and the 18th round is expected to be held soon.

China is the second-largest defense spender after the United States, which has a total defense budget of $816 billion in 2023.

From India’s perspective, however, China’s defense budget continues to be more than three times higher. India’s defense budget for 2023-24 is 5.94 trillion rupees (about 72.6 billion U.S. dollars).

The People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest military at 2 million troops, is growing stronger and more assertive, aided by an increase in the defense budget, with the military modernization of its army, navy and air force expanding.

The Chinese military is led by President Xi Jinping, chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission and the top commander of the People’s Liberation Army.

Xi, 69, is the only Chinese leader to be elected to an unprecedented third five-year term by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) last October, serving as party leader in addition to being president.

Under his leadership, the Chinese military has embarked on a massive military modernization with the goal of being on par with the U.S. armed forces within the next few years.

The Chinese navy, a rapidly expanding arm of the Chinese military, now has three aircraft carriers, while its air force continues to modernize with a variety of military jets, including stealth fighter jets.

Li Keqiang’s work report also said: “National defense mobilization capabilities have been further enhanced. Through these efforts, we have fully safeguarded the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests.”

“They have strengthened military training and enhanced combat readiness to become a more modern and lean combat force,” it said.

The Chinese military must focus on the century-old goal of the army’s founding in 2027, carry out in-depth military operations, strengthen combat readiness, enhance military capabilities, and complete tasks entrusted by the party and the people, Li said.

Li Keqiang said that the army should comprehensively strengthen military training and preparations, formulate new military strategic guidelines, put more energy on actual combat training, and coordinate and promote all-round and multi-field military work.

China has been increasing defense spending as it competes with the United States for global influence.

China is embroiled in bitter territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas. Beijing has also made substantial progress in militarizing artificial islands and reefs over the past few years.

Beijing claims sovereignty over the entire South China Sea. But Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan filed counterclaims. In the East China Sea, China has a territorial dispute with Japan.

China is also pressuring Taiwan, the self-governing democratic island that Beijing claims as its own although it has never ruled it.

Ahead of the National People’s Congress, its spokesman Wang Chao on Saturday defended China’s steady increase in its annual defense budget, saying China’s defense spending as a percentage of gross domestic product is below the world average.

Wang said that increasing the defense budget is a need for China to fulfill its responsibility as a major country to deal with complex security challenges.

The modernization of the Chinese military will not pose a threat to any country, but it will be a positive force for maintaining regional stability and world peace.

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)


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