China Plans 7.2% Defence Spending Rise This Year, Faster Than GDP Target


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China will boost defence spending 7.2% this year, slightly outpacing last year’s increase and faster than the government’s modest economic growth forecast, as Premier Li Keqiang called for the armed forces to boost combat preparedness. The 1.55 trillion yuan ($224 billion) in military spending in the national budget released on Sunday is closely watched by China’s neighbours and in Washington as a barometer of how aggressively the country will beef up its military. This year’s hike marks the eighth consecutive single-digit increase. As in previous years, no breakdown of the spending was given, only the overall amount and the rate...