China has announced to increase its defense budget to 7.2 percent this year, which is higher than the government’s economic growth forecast.
According to the Reuters news agency, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told the armed forces to “increase combat capability.”
China’s national budget released on Sunday detailed an increase in military spending to 1.55 trillion yuan, or $224 billion.
China’s neighbors and Washington see the budget as a measure of the Chinese military’s war and aggressive policy.
This year’s increase is not unusual for defense spending, and over the past eight years, China has invested at a similar pace to build its military capabilities.
Compared to defense spending, China’s annual economic growth is slightly lower due to internal challenges facing the world’s second-largest economy.
In recent years, China has adopted an aggressive policy towards Taiwan, which it claims as part of its territory, while the United States and many countries around the world do not recognize this claim.
The Chinese Prime Minister said that “the armed forces should speed up military training and preparation in all fields.”
He added that the army should “spend maximum energy on preparing for war situations, and strengthen all directions and sectors.”
Premier Li Keqiang told delegates of the National People’s Congress that “external efforts and threats to suppress and control China are increasing.”
The re-appointment of President Xi Jinping is also on the agenda of the National People’s Congress.
He was re-elected in October last year for another five years as party and army chief.
The 69-year-old President Xi Jinping, who has been criticized for his zero-covid policy in recent times, is facing several challenges.
Alfred Milwan Wu, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, told AFP that Xi has an “extremely strong” position at the top of the party, giving him virtually control of the party. Makes the inside unchallengeable.