The Chinese government will boost its military spending by 7.2% this year, rising to a total budget of 1.56 trillion Yuan.
In U.S. dollars, China’s budget now sits at $230 billion, up nearly $16 billion from its budget in 2022. China’s Ministry of Finance announced the new infusion of cash in its annual report on Sunday. The spending increase comes as the U.S. warns of a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan in the near future. U.S. officials have also warned China against sending lethal aid to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Despite the increase, U.S. military spending still dwarfs China’s. America’s military is engaged in efforts across the globe, including the supply of weapons for defending Ukraine.
Nevertheless, China’s budget increase follows a year of unprecedented tension between China and the U.S. and Taiwan. CIA Director William Burns stated last month that Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered his military to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027.
“We know as a matter of intelligence [Xi] has instructed the People’s Liberation Army to be ready by 2027 to conduct a successful invasion,” Burns said on Feb. 3. “Now, that does not mean that he’s decided to conduct an invasion in 2027, or any other year, but it’s a reminder of the seriousness of his focus and his ambition.”
“Therefore, I think it’s very much in our interest as a policy matter in the United States to make clear our commitment to the status quo, to make clear we are not interested as a country in changing that status quo, that we are deeply opposed to anyone trying to change that unilaterally, especially by the use of force,” the CIA director also said.
Tensions spiked over Taiwan in August 2022 after then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-governed island. China expressed outrage at the move, despite U.S. lawmakers frequently visiting the island.
The Chinese military conducted live-fire drills surrounding Taiwan for weeks following Pelosi’s visit, an apparent simulation of an invasion.
Taiwan split from mainland China in 1949 when democratic forces fled to the island after losing a civil war to the Chinese Communist Party. Mainland China has claimed to own the island ever since, despite it functioning as an autonomous democracy.