Caixin
Mar 05, 2018 05:54 PM
POLITICS & LAW

Quick Take: China’s Military Spending to Grow by 8.1%

A military parade is held in Inner Mongolia on July 30 to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army. Photo: VCG
A military parade is held in Inner Mongolia on July 30 to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army. Photo: VCG

China’s military spending is to go up by 8.1% from a year earlier to 1.11 trillion yuan ($174.8 billion), the Ministry of Finance said in a report delivered at the opening of the annual session of the country’s top legislature on Monday.

This is the third straight single-digit increase in the national defense budget, following a 7% increase last year, the slowest growth rate in 29 years. Military spending went up by 7.6% in 2016.

China’s military budget crossed the one trillion yuan mark in 2017, putting the country only second to the U.S., which is expected to spend $716 billion on national defense in 2019, up by 7.2% from this year’s level, according to a proposal from President Donald Trump in January.

As Beijing has become increasingly assertive in handling international affairs and its global military presence has grown, its massive defense budget has been closely scrutinized by the international community.

Defending China’s growing military prowess, Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the National People's Congress, told a news conference on Sunday that a portion of the budget increase would be used to make up for a shortfall in the past. 

Extra funding would be used to update military equipment and to improve benefits for armed-forces personnel, Zhang said.

Contact reporter Li Rongde (rongdeli@caixin.com)

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