China Boosts Military Budget

China

China has announced a 7.2% increase in its defence budget for 2024, maintaining the same growth rate as last year and solidifying its position as the world's second-highest military spender behind the United States.

The figure, released alongside the annual work of the Chinese parliament, projects a budget of 1.66 trillion yuan ($231.4 billion). This translates to roughly three times the amount allocated by Washington for its military.

Lu Chinchen, a spokesperson for the National People's Assembly, stated on Monday that the increase aims to "reasonably increase" the budget to "safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests."

China's continuous military spending growth, mirroring its economic expansion, raises concerns among various countries, including the US, Australia, India, and the Philippines. These concerns stem from territorial disputes in the South China Sea and China's stance towards Taiwan, an island it considers a breakaway province, and its potential use of force for unification.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the US remains the top spender globally with $877 billion in 2022, followed by China, Russia, India, and Saudi Arabia.

In a separate statement, China reiterated its strong opposition to any actions promoting "Taiwan's independence" or "external interference" in its internal affairs. Notably, the statement omits the word "peaceful" when referencing the country's commitment to reunification, raising concerns in the international community.

While the budget increase itself is not unexpected, the change in language regarding Taiwan's reunification adds another layer of complexity to the already tense geopolitical landscape.

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