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China has proposed to increase defence spending by 7.1%, to CNY1.45tn ($230bn) in 2022, in a bid to safeguard its sovereignty, security, and development interests.

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The proposed increase was announced by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang while delivering the draft budget at the opening of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the top legislature of the country.

If approved, the rise in defence spending will mark the largest increase since 2019, reported Reuters. Last year, the figure was 6.8%.

According to the news agency, Premier Li said that the government will focus on modernising its military’s logistics and developing modern weaponry.

He was quoted by Reuters as saying: “We will continue the reform of national defence, and the military, and step up innovations in defence science and technology.

“Government at all levels must give strong support to the development of national defence, and the armed forces, so unity between the military and government, and between the military and the people, will remain rock solid.”

Global Times, an English newspaper that runs under the auspices of China’s ruling Communist Party, said that the defence budget increase comes at a time of the ‘unstable security situation’ around the country.

The rise also comes at a time when the ongoing crisis in Ukraine pushed several countries to increase defence expenditure.

Denmark recently said that it will increase its defence budget to 2% of GDP, by 2033.

Germany also announced that it will increase military expenditure to more than 2% of GDP while the Polish Government is also working to boost defence spending more than previously planned.