China Defence Spending Rise At Three-Decade Low, Still to Grow 6.6% (excerpt)
(Source: Reuters; published May 22, 2020)
By Yew Lun Tian
BEIJING --- China’s defence spending this year will rise at the slowest rate in three decades but will still increase by 6.6% from 2019, as the country grapples with what it sees as growing security threats and a wilting economy.

The figure, set at 1.268 trillion yuan ($178.16 billion) in the national budget released on Friday, is closely watched as a barometer of how aggressively the country will beef up its military.

China’s economy shrank 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020 compared with a year earlier, as the novel coronavirus spread from the central city of Wuhan, where it emerged late last year.

China omitted a 2020 economic growth target for the first time and pledged government support for the economy in Premier Li Keqiang’s work report on Friday, launching the country’s annual parliament meeting.

Still, Li pledged that the armed forces, the world’s largest, should not be worse off. (enf of excerpt)


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China Has No "Hidden Military Spending": Spokesperson
(Source: Xinhua; issued May 21, 2020)
BEIJING --- China is transparent about its military spending and there is no such thing as "hidden military spending," a spokesperson said Thursday.

China has been submitting reports on its military expenditures to the United Nations every year since 2007, Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the third session of the 13th National People's Congress, said at a press conference.

"From where the money comes from to how the money is used, everything is accounted for," Zhang said.

China's defense spending has been staying at around 1.3 percent of its gross domestic product for many years, well below the world's average of 2.6 percent, according to Zhang.

He added that China's total defense spending in 2019 only amounted to a quarter that of the world's largest defense spender, while the per capita expenditure was just about one-seventeenth.

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