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China says military spending growth in 2024 to stay the same as last year at 7.2%

Missiles on the background of the Chinese flag

Anton Petrus | Moment | Getty Images

China is set to increase its defense spending by 7.2% in 2024, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing an official government work report released as part of the country’s annual parliamentary meetings in Beijing.

This year’s military budget announcement comes against the backdrop of several generals from the People’s Liberation Army, including the country’s previous Defense Minister Li Shangfu, losing their positions amid President Xi Jinping’s broad anti-corruption probe in the past year.

China’s 2024 military budget expansion follows a 7.2% increase last year, a 7.1% spike in 2022, 6.8% increase in 2021, 6.6% climb in 2020 and 7.5% growth in 2019, according to official data.

China’s official military budget is second only to the United States in the world, though some unofficial estimates suggest the scale of Beijing’s military spending may be larger than officially claimed.

China maintains its claims over self-governed Taiwan and President Xi Jinping regards reunification as a “historical inevitability.” The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague ruled in 2016 that China’s claims over vast portions of the South China Sea have no basis in international law — a ruling that Beijing has rejected.

From land border skirmishes with India a few years ago to confrontations in the South China Sea with Southeast Asian countries more recently, tensions have heightened between Beijing and its neighbors.

Beijing has also taken offence at joint exercises and patrols that U.S. and other Western naval powers have conducted with various Asian nations in international waters that Beijing claims as its own.

This is a developing story. Please check back for more details.

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