The Chinese government will increase its military spending by 7.2% this year, to a total budget of 1.56 trillion yuan.
In US dollars, China’s budget now stands at $230 billion, nearly $16 billion more than the 2022 budget. China’s Ministry of Finance on Sunday announced the new infusion of cash into its annual report The increased spending comes as the US warns of a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan in the near future. US officials have also warned China against sending lethal aid to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Despite the increase, US military spending still exceeds China’s. The US military is engaged in efforts around the world, including providing weapons to defend Ukraine.
However, China’s budget increase follows a year of unprecedented tension between China and the US and Taiwan. CIA Director William Burns said last month that Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered his military to be ready to invade Taiwan in 2027.
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“We know that as a matter of intelligence [Xi] has ordered the People’s Liberation Army to be ready in 2027 to carry out a successful invasion,” Burns said on February 3. “Now, that doesn’t mean that he has decided to invade in 2027, or any other year, but it’s a reminder of the seriousness of their approach and their ambition.”
“So I think it’s very much in our interest as a political matter in the United States to make clear our commitment to the status quo, to make clear that we are not interested as a country in changing that status quo, that we are deeply opposed to anyone who try to change it unilaterally, especially through the use of force,” the CIA director also said.
Tensions rose in Taiwan in August 2022 after then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-ruled island. China expressed outrage at the move, despite US lawmakers frequently visiting the island.
The Chinese military conducted live-fire drills around Taiwan for weeks after Pelosi’s visit, an apparent simulation of an invasion.
Taiwan broke away from mainland China in 1949 when democratic forces fled to the island after losing a civil war to the Chinese Communist Party. Mainland China has claimed ownership of the island ever since, despite it functioning as an autonomous democracy.