China’s defense budget increases 7.5%: Is it small or large?

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UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The Chinese military budget, the second largest in the world after that of the United States, will increase by 7.5% in 2019. This growth rate is lower than in 2018, when it was 8.1%. Russian military analyst Vassili Kachine commented for Sputnik on the priorities of Beijing’s defense policy.

According to a report submitted to the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the growth rate of China’s defense budget will be 7.5 percent in 2019. This is a rate single digit growth since 2016 (7.6% in 2016, 7% in 2017 and 8.1% in 2018), after double-digit growth for five consecutive years.

“Given the tensions in relations between China and the United States, this growth rate of the Chinese military budget is interpreted quite differently in the press. While the Western and Japanese media talk about China “playing with its muscles,” the Chinese press focuses on slowing the growth of the defense budget compared to 2018, “said Sputnik Vassili Kachin, Russian military analyst.

According to the interlocutor of the agency, the reality is however a little more complex.

“There is every reason to believe that the Chinese leadership wants the country’s military power to increase in proportion to its economic growth, that it is not too late without depleting the economy,” he said.

And to explain that the figures of the increase of the military budget of China were each year quite close first of all the growth rates of the GDP of the previous year and then changes of the prices of the producers.

“The slowdown in the Chinese economy, coupled with low inflation, leads to a decline in the growth rate of the military budget to 6 to 7%,” said the expert.

According to the latter, the impact of current political events on the growth of military spending is probably not significant.

“Therefore, we should not consider the annual figures of the Chinese military budget as a reaction to these events or as political signals,” Kachine said.

And adding that for the burden of military spending on the national economy, China was far behind the United States.

“Although the share of Chinese military spending in the budget is gradually increasing, it is certainly not a serious escalation,” summed up Sputnik’s interlocutor.

Observers view the increase in China’s defense budget as reasonable and appropriate. According to the report presented at the annual session of the NPC, the government of the country plans to spend 1,190 billion yuan ($ 177.6 billion) for its defense, about four times less than Washington.

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