China has now reportedly announced it will boost its military budget by nearly $230 billion this year amid concerns it will launch an invasion of Taiwan.
The money is set to ‘boost combat preparedness and enhance military capabilities,’ claimed Premier Li Keqiang ahead of a draft budget presented to the National People’s Congress in Beijing.
It means China’s military spending will grow at its fastest pace in four years and take up a larger share of its economy, marking the reversal of a two-decade trend which has seen the nation prioritize growth over its military capabilities.
Military spending will rise by 7.2 percent in 2023, totaling $224 billion.
The action will undoubtedly frighten the US administration, which is concerned about Beijing’s strategic ambitions in the aftermath of escalating tensions with Taiwan.
Beijing is concerned about challenges on several fronts, including Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy that China claims as its own, ready to be seized by force if necessary.
Last August, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, infuriating China.
Together with Taiwan, tensions have risen with the United States over China’s militarization of islands in the South China Sea, which it claims almost entirely, and, most recently, the shooting down of a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the United States’ east coast.