China on Sunday announced a 7.2 per cent increase in its defence budget for the coming year, just 0.1 per cent higher than in 2022.
That marks the eighth consecutive year of single-digit percentage increases in what is now the world’s second-largest military budget. The 2023 figure was given as 1.55 trillion yuan (USD 224 billion).
Along with the world’s biggest standing army, China has the world’s largest navy and recently launched its third aircraft carrier. According to the US, it also has the largest aviation force in the Indo-Pacific, with more than half of its fighter planes consisting of fourth or fifth generation models.
China also boasts a massive stockpile of missiles, along with stealth aircraft, bombers capable of delivering nuclear weapons, advanced surface ships and nuclear powered submarines.