China to increase defense spending by 7.2%

Evelyn Cheng

China is set to increase defense spending this year by 7.2% to 1.56 trillion yuan ($230 billion), according to a draft released Sunday by the Ministry of Finance.

China’s defense budget grew by 7.1% last year to 1.45 trillion yuan, faster than the 6.8% increase in 2021 and 6.6% climb in 2020, according to official data.

In 2019, China’s defense spending rose by 7.5% to 1.19 trillion yuan.

In a separate report Sunday about government work, Premier Li Keqiang did not mention the Russia-Ukraine war. “We should stay committed to an independent foreign policy of peace,” the report said.

The work report called for “resolute steps to oppose ‘Taiwan independence’” while sticking to Beijing’s call for “peaceful reunification.”

Taiwan is a democratically ruled self-governed island that Beijing claims is part of its territory.

The U.S. government in December authorized over $800 billion in defense spending for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, 2023. In addition to domestic inflation, the spending plan pointed to the need to counter Chinese and Russian military capabilities.

That’s significantly higher than prior years.

In fiscal year 2022, the U.S. spent $767 billion, or 12% of its budget, on national defense, according to Treasury data. That was about 2% more than the $755 billion spent in 2021, the data showed.

(Source: CNBC)