Chinese official Defense budget 2020 to raise by 6.6 percent only

The coronavirus crisis has a significant impact on many defense budgets around the world. For instance, China will increase its defense spending by 6.6 percent% in 2020, the lowest rate in years, the government said Friday. But analysts raise the concern that many expenses are not included in this official budget.
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A main battle tank attached to an armored detachment of a combined brigade under the PLA 72nd Group Army rumbles through a narrow rough mountain road during a driving skills test on May 11, 2020 (Picture source: by Xiao Yuxuan)

The 6.6 percent figure is down from the double-digit percentage increases the country used to vote until recently, which gave China the second biggest defense budget in the world behind the U.S., the AP reports. Spending will total 1.3 trillion yuan (USD 180 billion), according to the website of the National People's Congress (Parliament). Analysts claim that actual spending could be much higher because many items are not included in the official budget: defense outlays rose by 7.5% last year to 1.2 trillion yuan (USD178 billion), while independent experts estimated real spending on the military exceeded $220 billion when off-budget expenses were added in.

The 2020 budget aims at increasing China's navy and getting advanced aircraft and other armaments to boost China’s means to enforce its territorial claims in the South China Sea and expand its military presence in the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Needless to say how far Beijing wants to keep its pressure on Taiwan whose independence has again be declared out of question, considering the island as its own territory to be brought under its control by military force if necessary.

The government will strengthen support in logistics and equipment and "promote innovative development of defense-related science and technology," while ensuring that "unity between the military and the government and between the military and the people "remains rock solid," the premier said.

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