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China plans to "steadily and reasonably" expand its military defense budget

Focus on Indo-Pacific

G Iuvinale

It is likely that China will "steadily and reasonably increase its military expenditure in 2023", according to predictions made by experts and analysts the Global Times has reached, as they cited China's national defense modernization and the security tensions China is being confronted with among the reasons that incentivize the growth.

China's defense budget in 2022 Graphic: Deng Zijun/GT

A defense budget draft for the year 2023 is scheduled to be released at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, on Sunday.

China's defense budget for 2022 was set at 1.45 trillion yuan ($230 billion), an increase of 7.1 percent, faster than the 6.8 percent in 2021 and 6.6 percent in 2020.

The country has maintained single-digit growths in its annual defense budget since 2016.

Chinese military expert Fu Qianshao told the Global Times that China will very likely continue to steadily expand its defense budget in 2023.

The modernization of the Chinese People's Liberation Army requires a large funding in order to procure advanced equipment and maintain a high level of training, Fu said.

National defense modernization takes decades, requiring China to maintain a certain level of defense spending for many years, Fu said. Citing the very low military expenditure when China had to focus on economic development before the 2000s, he said that China is only picking up what has been left.

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times that China's defense budget growth rate for 2023 could be higher than that of 2022.
"In such an unfavorable international situation, China needs to enhance its armed forces' combat readiness, including boosting the procurement of new weapons and equipment, intensifying realistic combat-oriented exercises, and improving troop welfare, which all require extra funding", Song said.

China has room to further raise its defense budget to meet the corresponding status as a major country in the world, the expert said.


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