A general view shows the Great Hall of the People ahead of the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on March 4, 2023.
Noel Celis | AFP | Getty Images
China’s defense spending as a share of gross domestic product has remained basically stable for many years, with increases “moderate” and “reasonable”, the spokesman for the country’s parliament said on Saturday.
“The modernization of China’s military will not pose a threat to any country,” Wang Chao, a spokesman for the National People’s Congress, told reporters.
Wang was asked at a press conference how much China’s defense budget would increase this year, and whether any increase would be larger than previous years.
He declined to give any figures for this year’s defense budget.
The spending figure will be officially presented in the national budget released on Sunday at the start of this year’s parliamentary session.
It will be watched closely by China’s neighbors and in Washington as a barometer of how aggressively the country will strengthen its military.
Beijing routinely says defense spending is a comparatively low percentage of its GDP, and critics want to demonize it as a threat to world peace.
China is nervous about challenges on several fronts, from Chinese-claimed Taiwan to US naval and air missions in the disputed South China Sea near Chinese-occupied islands and a fierce border dispute with India.
China staged war games near Taiwan in August to express anger over the visit to Taipei by then US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.