China Announces Military Spending Increase

    China Announces Military Spending Increase
    Last updated Mar 06, 2023
    Image credit: npr


    • Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has announced a rise in the nation's military spending by 7.2% and an official GDP growth target of about 5% for 2023. The news opened the Chinese Communist Party-led parliament's annual meeting on Sunday.
    • "China's economy is staging a steady recovery and demonstrating vast potential and momentum for further growth," the outgoing leader said. The gathering of the National People's Congress — which has drawn almost 3K delegates to China's capital Beijing — will take place until the end of the week.
    • Goldman Sachs has reflected that the GDP target was "not challenging" given China's poor economic performance in 2022 — if Beijing hits the target, it would still indicate a recovery from the growth of 3% seen last year amid a strict "zero-COVID" policy that has only recently been reversed.
    • The announced budget plans put defense spending at 1.55T yuan ($225B), with Keqiang telling the NPC that "external attempts to suppress and contain China are escalating." He added, "the armed forces should intensify military training."
    • The news comes at a low point for diplomatic relations between China and Washington amid continuing tensions over the sovereignty of Taiwan. Though the US military budget still greatly outstrips Beijing's (at over $800B for 2023), experts believe Chinese spending may be far more than officially declared.
    • Apart from having the world's largest army and largest navy, China has recently launched its third aircraft carrier and, according to the US, has the largest aviation force in the Indo-Pacific region.


    Pro-China narrative

    Sunday's announcement reflects confidence in the economic recovery of Beijing. China is set to return to its place as one of the fastest-growing major economies globally, despite the downturn expected across the rest of the world.

    Anti-China narrative

    China has shown its hand with a modest growth target, revealing that leaders are aiming to avoid missing their economic goal for a second year running — even if it means less of an overall boost to a flagging global economy. Beijing is making a slow recovery following the politics of COVID.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 50% chance that China's GDP will be at least 16.1 (trillion constant 2015 international dollars) in 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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