China says military spending growth in 2024 will remain same as last year at 7.2%

China is set to increase its defense spending by 7.2 percent in 2024, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing an official government work report released as part of the country’s annual parliamentary meetings in Beijing.

This year’s military budget announcement comes as several generals of the People’s Liberation Army, including the country’s former defense minister Li Sangfu, lost their posts amid President Xi Jinping’s wide-ranging anti-corruption investigation last year.

China’s 2024 military budget expansion follows 7.2% growth last year, 7.1% growth in 2022, 6.8% growth in 2021, 6.6% growth in 2020 and 7.5% growth in 2019. according to official data.

China’s official military budget is second only to the United States in the world, although some unofficial estimates suggest the scale of Beijing’s military spending may be greater than officially claimed.

China maintains its claims to self-ruled Taiwan, and President Xi Jinping sees reunification as a “historic inevitability.” The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in 2016 that China’s claims to large parts of the South China Sea have no basis in international law — a decision Beijing rejected.

From land border skirmishes with India a few years ago to clashes in the South China Sea with Southeast Asian countries more recently, tensions have risen between Beijing and its neighbors.

Beijing has also been offended by joint exercises and patrols that the US and other Western navies have conducted with various Asian nations in international waters that Beijing claims as its own.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.

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