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China Defence Spending up 7% Amid Taiwan Reunification Change

China has allocated 1.67 trillion yuan ($230.6 billion) to military spending this year. Meanwhile, Beijing dropped reference to ‘peaceful reunification’ with Taiwan, a term used in previous reports

People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers march in formation past Tiananmen Square during a rehearsal before a military parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China, on its National Day in Beijing, October 1, 2019 (file Reuters image).


China has announced a 7.2% boost in defence spending this year – the same as last year, although the country’s economic growth is expected to be well under that.

The budget formally lists 1.67 trillion yuan ($230.60 billion) allocated to military spending. However, US intelligence and some lawmakers claim the real figure could be about $700 billion, which would be far closer to the US defence budget of just over $800 billion last year.

The defence budget is closely watched by China’s neighbours and the United States, who are wary about Beijing’s strategic intentions and the development of its armed forces as bilateral tensions have risen sharply in recent years over Taiwan.


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Reference to ‘peaceful reunification’ of Taiwan dropped

In a separate report, China said it would “resolutely oppose separatist activities aimed at ‘Taiwan independence’ and external interference”.

The work report also said China would “be firm in advancing the cause of China reunification”, dropping the mention of “peaceful reunification” in previous reports.

This year’s increase in defence spending marks the ninth consecutive single-digit increase. As in previous years, no breakdown of the spending was given, just the overall amount and the rate of increase.

The National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s rubber-stamp parliament, also heard Premier Li Qiang’s first work report at its annual meeting in Beijing on Tuesday.

China has set an economic growth target for 2024 of about 5%, similar to last year’s goal, according to an official work report seen on Tuesday.


  • Reuters with additional input and editing by Jim Pollard




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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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