Updated March 5th, 2024 at 09:43 IST

China's defence spending up 7.2%, signals tougher stance on Taiwan

Under Xi's tenure, China's military budget has more than doubled, reflecting Beijing's increasingly assertive stance, particularly concerning Taiwan.

Reported by: Business Desk
Flag of China | Image:Pixabay

China boosts defence: China has announced a 7.2 per cent increase in its defence spending for the year, continuing a trend of growth. The move, revealed during the National People's Congress, comes alongside a shift in rhetoric regarding Taiwan, with the omission of the term "peaceful reunification."

Under Xi's tenure, China's military budget has more than doubled, reflecting Beijing's increasingly assertive stance, particularly concerning Taiwan. Despite economic challenges, Taiwan remains a key priority for China's defence strategy, signalling its readiness to confront any potential conflicts.

The decision to drop the term "peaceful reunification" highlights China's more aggressive posture towards Taiwan, raising tensions in the region. This change in language has prompted observers to speculate about China's intentions and its potential impact on relations with Taiwan and its allies.

The defence budget increase, outpacing economic growth targets, reflects China's focus on modernising its military capabilities. This move is closely monitored by neighbouring countries and the United States amid concerns about China's target.

The purchase of new military equipment will likely consume a significant portion of the budget as China works towards achieving full modernisation by 2035. This year marks the 30th consecutive year of defence spending increases.

While China reiterated its call for "reunification" with Taiwan, the removal of the term "peaceful" suggests a more assertive approach. Taiwan's response to these developments remains unclear, but its defence ministry has signalled plans to increase missile drills in response.

Observers note a moderate hardening of Beijing's stance towards Taiwan, balancing increased toughness with efforts to maintain relations with Taiwan's international partners. Recent statements from Chinese officials indicate a firm commitment to opposing any moves towards Taiwanese independence, reflecting heightened tensions in the region.

(With Reuters Inputs)

Published March 5th, 2024 at 09:43 IST