China increases defence budget by 8.1%

7 Mar 18

China is to increase its defence budget by 8.1% in 2018, a budget report submitted to the national legislature has said, taking defence spending to 1.11trn yuan ($175bn).

The state council of the People’s Republic of China reported that the proposal would go to the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress, which opened on Monday.

It said that while defence spending would increase by more than the 7.0% and 7.6% rises seen in the preceding two years, this still represented the third single digit rate of increase since 2013.

In a sign that it might be sensitive to international reaction to the increase, Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the congress noted that China’s defence budget, took up a smaller share of its gross domestic product than did that of other major countries and its military spending per capita is also lower.

Zhang said: “A large part of the growth of the defence budget is to make up for the low military spending in the past and is mainly used to upgrade equipment and improve the welfare of servicemen and women and the living and training conditions of grassroots troops.”

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