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Military spending only for defense?

China’s military budget is seen as a barometer of how determined the country is to strengthen its military. And that is particularly significant in these times of growing uncertainty: The US and Europe increasingly see China as a strategic rival and are watching Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea – one of the busiest international sea lanes – and along the Taiwan Strait with a wary eye. At the beginning of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the Chinese Ministry of Finance announced that the military budget would increase this year by 6.8 percent to around ¥1.35 trillion (the equivalent of $208 billion or €175 billion).

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