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China to increase defense budget in 2023 by 7.2%, to $224.85 billion

5 March 2023 09:40 (UTC+04:00)
China to increase defense budget in 2023 by 7.2%, to $224.85 billion

China intends to increase its defense budget by 7.2% this year to 1.553 trillion yuan (about $224.85 billion), according to a government report released on Sunday at the opening of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress (the supreme legislative body), Azernews reports citing TASS.

"National defense spending is 1.553 trillion yuan [this year], with a 7.2% increase," the document said.

On the eve, Wang Chao, spokesman for the first session of the 14th National People's Congress, said that the increase in China's defense budget "is dictated by the need to respond to complex security challenges as well as the need to fulfill the obligations of a major power".

In 2022, China increased defense spending by 7.1% to 1.451 trillion yuan (about $229.07 billion at the exchange rate at the time of publication) and in 2021 by 6.8% to 1.356 trillion yuan (about $209 billion).

Many international organizations, including the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), believe that China significantly understates the official data on the military budget, while its actual volume may be 25-50% higher. According to the analysts, the published data do not include several very important items: expenditures on strategic forces, defense research and development, import of foreign weapons, People's Armed Police (internal troops analogue) and other paramilitary units. Also, provincial government spending on military expenditures is not included.

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