China boosts defence spending by 6.8pc amid debt, pandemic

BEIJING (AP) — China is increasing its defence spending by 6.8 per cent in 2021 as it works to maintain a robust upgrading of the armed forces despite high government debt and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

A national budget report issued on Friday said China would spend CNY1.355 (USD210 billion) on defense in the coming year.

That’s up from CNY1.3 trillion (USD180 billion) last year representing a 6.6 per cent boost, the lowest percentage increase in at least two decades.

The military budget has dipped during periods of slower economic growth, but has also been dropping steadily from the double-digit percentage increases over years as the increasingly powerful military matures and rapid expansion of what is already the world’s second largest defence budget is no longer required.