China increases defence budget by 7.2% to $230 Bn

China on Tuesday announced a 7.2 percent increase in its defence budget, which is already the world’s second-highest behind the United States, even though the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) surpasses the US military by number of personnel.

Noteworthy, the 7.2 percent increase, identical to last year’s figure, was announced at the start of the annual meeting of the country’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC).

China will spend 1.665 trillion yuan ($231.4 billion) on defence in 2024, according to the budget report that lays out the government’s financial plans for the year ahead.

Since Xi became president and commander-in-chief more than a decade ago, the defence budget has ballooned to 1.665 trillion yuan ($231.4 billion) this year from 720 billion yuan in 2013.

Tensions with the US, Taiwan, Japan, and neighbours 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.

To be noted that las year China made a number of significant acquisitions, including a substantial increase in number of nuclear warheads last year.

Rather according to SIPRI, Beijing had 410 nuclear warheads in 2023, an increase of 60 from the year before.

However, that still significantly lags behind Washington’s 3,708 and Moscow’s 4,489.

Also, worth mentioning that the official budget 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.