April 22nd, 2024

China raises defense budget 7.2% as it pushes for global heft and regional tensions continue

By The Associated Press on March 4, 2024.

Delegates read the opening remark by Chinese Premier Li Qiang during the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AP) – China on Tuesday announced a 7.2% increase in its defense budget, which is already the world’s second-highest behind the United States at 1.6 trillion yuan ($222 billion), roughly mirroring the rise of the last year.

Tensions with the U.S., Taiwan, Japan and neighbors who share claims to the crucial South China Sea are seen as furthering growth in increasingly high-tech military technologies from stealth fighters to aircraft carriers and a growing arsenal of nuclear weapons.

The official budget figure announced Tuesday at the opening session of the rubber-stamp legislature’s annual meeting is considered by many foreign experts to be only a fraction of spending by the People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of the ruling Communist Party, once spending on research and development and foreign weapons purchases are considered.

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