More Aggression: China Hikes Defense Budget To 6.8% Of GDP

China increased its 2021 defense budget by 6.8 percent to $209 billion in a quicker pace than last year’s growth of 6.6%, which analysts believe is fast rise as the country resiliently emerges from the wreckage of COVID-19 pandemic, learned GDC citing Chinese Communist Party run media Global Times. Last year, China spent 6.6% of its GDP to military modernization which accounted almost $179 billion.

By the 100th anniversary of the founding of the PLA in 2027, the centennial goal of military development should be achieved, and by 2035, the country should have achieved modernization of the national defense and armed forces, it was announced at the plenary session.

The prevention and control of COVID-19 in China over the past year has ensured that the economy continued to grow, as China became the world’s only major country in 2020 that maintained positive economic growth, analysts said, noting that even back in May of that year, when the pandemic outcome was not clear to all, China still managed to plan a 6.6 percent defense budget increase, so it is natural that 2021 sees a higher figure.

Chinese defense budget. Source

Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times on Friday that the US sees China as a competitor, and that is also reflected in the military field. China needs to brace itself against this pressure, and a faster defense budget growth rate will contribute to that goal.

In the past yeara, China has been challenging Japan, India, Australia, Taiwan and USA by repeated military provocations to the US, China sent many warships and warplanes ttowards aiwan for close reconnaissance of Taiwan’s coastal regions. 

China trespassed into Taiwan’s territorial waters and airspace in the Taiwan Strait.

China engaged in a tense standoff with India over border issues that turned violent in June last year, when 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops were killed in hand-to-hand fighting. The deaths marked the first time casualties were reported along the disputed frontier since 1975. The U.S. has tested the country’s red lines on Taiwan with official visits and arms sales, and tensions with several countries have also heated up in both the East and the South China Sea.

Recent diplomatic assertiveness by Beijing has come as China rebounded much better than other major economies. Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to make the nation a great military power in the coming decades. He pledged to complete the modernization of China’s armed forces by 2035 and to build a world-class military capable of winning wars across all theaters by 2050.

“Considering Beijing’s threat perceptions and goal of achieving military modernization by 2035, I’d expect defense spending to continue to be a priority,” said Meia Nouwens, senior fellow for Chinese defense policy and military modernization at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

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