China will increase its military budget by 7.1% this year, the Finance Ministry announced on Saturday, in a context of global tension over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The country will earmark 1.45 trillion yuan ($230 billion) for defense in 2022, according to the government budget report. China has the second largest defense budget in the world, after the United States.
The increase in Chinese military spending is higher than the forecast growth of the economy, set on Saturday at 5.5% for the current year, according to Premier Li Keqiang.
The rise comes amid heightened global tensions last week over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Beijing has refused to condemn, saying it “understands” Moscow’s security concerns.
The Chinese military reinforcement arouses mistrust between neighboring countries, fueled by a lack of transparency about exactly what the defense budget contains.