China projected defense spending growth of 6.8% this year, the largest increase since 2019, amid tensions with the U.S. and key neighbors. The defense spending boost comes after China sparred with India on its border and as the nation seeks to modernize its military to make it more competitive with the U.S. China, the only major economy in the world to expand last year, also announced on Friday an economic growth target of above 6% for the year, well below what economists had forecast.
Along with the border standoff with India, U.S. has tested the country’s red lines on Taiwan with official visits and arms sales, and tensions with several countries have also heated up in both the East and the South China Sea.
“Considering Beijing’s threat perceptions and goal of achieving military modernization by 2035, I’d expect defense spending to continue to be a priority,” said Meia Nouwens, senior fellow for Chinese defense policy and military modernization at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. China plans to boost pay for some personnel by 40% this year to lure and retain talent as it pursues these goals, the South China Morning Post reported in January.
Analysts outside China say actual military spending far exceeds the official figure presented every year at the legislative meeting, partly because R&D expenditures are not included. In January, researchers at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute updated the way it calculates China’s defense spending for 2019, estimating the Asian nation’s outlay at 1.66 trillion yuan, or 38% more than the official figure.
Source: The Print https://theprint.in/world/chinas-defence-budget-climbs-6-8-biggest-hike-in-2-yrs-amid-border-tensions-with-india/616085/