Beijing (Agencies): China has unveiled its defense budget draft for the year 2024, amounting to a substantial 1.66554 trillion yuan (approximately $231.36 billion). This represents a 7.2 percent increase compared to the previous year.

The figure reflects China’s measured and deliberate approach to national defense development. Experts emphasize that this growth is in line with factors such as military modernization, external security considerations, and overall economic development.

The proposed defense budget was presented in a draft budget report during the opening session of the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s highest legislative body.

Key Observations:

  • Steady Growth: China’s defense budget has consistently maintained single-digit growth for nine consecutive years, starting from 2016. The 7.2 percent increase in 2024 continues this trend, with growth rates typically oscillating between six and eight percent in recent times.
  • Moderation and Reason: Zhang Junshe, a Chinese military expert, underscores the stability of China’s defense expenditure. The consecutive single-digit growth signifies a moderate and reasonable approach to enhancing national security.
  • Global Context: While China’s defense spending remains measured, other nations have significantly increased their military budgets. Notably:
  • United States: In December 2023, President Joe Biden authorized a record $886 billion annual military spending for fiscal 2024—nearly four times China’s allocation.
  • Japan: Japan’s Cabinet approved a hefty 16 percent boost in military spending for 2024. This move, coupled with a relaxation of postwar restrictions on lethal weapons exports, signals a departure from the country’s self-defense-only stance.
  • Relative Share: Zhang highlights an essential perspective. When compared to major military powers like the US, China’s defense expenditure as a share of its GDP remains relatively low.

As geopolitical dynamics continue to evolve, China’s defense budget reflects a calibrated response—one that balances security imperatives with economic realities. The world watches as these allocations shape global stability and strategic relationships.

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