China increases military spending while warning of escalating threats

China’s military spending will rise by more than 7% this year, despite warnings of “escalating” threats.

The announcement was made at the National People’s Congress (NPC), a rubber-stamp parliament that is set to confirm President Xi Jinping’s third term.

Beijing’s military budget, which is around $225 billion (£186 billion), is still dwarfed by the United States’, which is four times larger.

Analysts believe China understates its defense spending.

“External attempts to suppress and contain China are escalating,” outgoing Premier Li Keqiang told the NPC.

“The armed forces should increase overall military training and readiness,” he said.

The meeting also announced that China would pursue a lower economic growth target of around 5% this year.

The Two Sessions, as the meetings are known, take place once a year.

However, delegates are expected to reshape several key Communist Party and state institutions during this year’s sessions.

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