China’s defence budget to increase by 7% in 2017
China has announced it is to increase its defence budget by 7% in 2017.
The rise will see China’s defence budget surpass the $145Bn for the first time.
The Ministry of Finance made the announcement ahead of the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing but the figure still represents a slowdown, being the lowest increase for six years and the second year running it has been below 10%.
Since the early 1990s, China regularly announced double digit growth in military spending as it expanded and modernised its armed forces.
China’s economy has suffered instability and it would appear military spending is not immune from austerity measures.
The news follows President Trump’s announcement of plans to increase the US defence budget spend by 10% in 2018.
This would see the total US Defence budget reach $603Bn.
Even with the 7% rise, China’s total defence spend is still officially only around 25% of that of the US defence budget.
It has been suggested that China’s actual defence budget may exceed the figure for public consumption amid questions of transparency on military spending.
China’s recent military posturing in territorial disputes, particularly in terms of naval power and building artificial islands in disputed waters has raised tensions in the region.
image © LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES
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