China readying for Taiwan takeover? Xi hikes defence budget for 8th year in a row


Beijing: Amid ongoing tensions with the US and the European nations, the latest being Germany’s threats against providing weapons to Russia against Ukraine, China has increased its defence budget for the eighth straight year. Incidentally, another arch rival Japan had recently doubled its defence spending. This comes as China increases pressure on Taiwan.

China has hiked its defence budget by 7.2 per cent in 2023, higher than 7.1 per cent last year.

How much will China spend on its military?

In the national budget released on Sunday, China has increased its defence budget to 1.55 trillion yuan (about USD 225 billion) this year, up from 1.45 trillion yuan last year, as Premier Li Keqiang called for the armed forces to boost combat preparedness.

It is worth mentioning that it is for the eighth consecutive year China announced a single-digit percentage point increase in its military budget.

China’s defence budget is being closely watched by its neighbours and in the US as a barometer of how aggressively the country will strengthen its military.

Just like previous years, the Chinese government did not provide breakdown of the spending. It has only provided the detail of overall amount and the rate of increase.

China’s defence budget three times higher than India

China is the second biggest spender on defence after the US. The Washington’s defence budget 2023 totalled USD 816 billion.

China’s defence budget continued to be more than three times higher than India. The defence spending announced by the Indian government in budget 2023-24 amounted to Rs 5.94 lakh crore (about USD 72.6 billion).

In the recent years, China has reportedly been spending dollars into modernising defence with an aim to transform its military into a world-class force rivalling the US and other Western powers.

In the past year, there has been increase in military tensions between China and the US, especially over the status of Taiwan.

China considers Taiwan its own territory and believes the US is slowly chipping away at its core interests and challenging its bottom line while being careful to avoid a single drastic action that could give Beijing a clear reason to react with full force.

China carried out some of the largest military drills around the island nation in years when the then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last summer.

Chinese military conducted major missions

In a speech, Keqiang presented the government’s work report and spoke highly of the achievements armed forces’ at the borders without directly referring to the Eastern Ladakh standoff.

“They carried out operations in a firm and flexible way, and they effectively conducted major missions relating to border defence, maritime rights protection, counterterrorism and stability maintenance, disaster rescue and relief, Covid-19 response, peacekeeping, and merchant ship escorting,” Li said in the report.

The mention of “major missions relating to border defence” was seen significant in the context of offensive actions by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Eastern Ladakh in May 2020 along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India, triggering a prolonged standoff virtually freezing the relations between both the countries.

The two countries held 17 rounds of high-level military talks to resolve the standoff and the 18th round was expected to take place soon.

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China readying for Taiwan takeover? Xi hikes defence budget for 8th year in a row
China readying for Taiwan takeover? Xi hikes defence budget for 8th year in a row
ASE News
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