(Two sessions) Defense outlay set at 1.26 trillion yuanChina | 22 May 2020 10:15 am
China will continue to lower its defense budget growth rate to 6.6 percent in 2020, the lowest defense budget growth rate in recent years.
The proposed defense budget stands at 1.268 trillion yuan (US$178 billion), according to a draft budget report.
China reports only a raw figure for military expenditure, with no breakdown. It is widely believed by diplomats and foreign experts to under-report the real number. Taking the reported figure at face value, China's defence budget in 2020 is about a quarter of the U.S. defence budget last year, which stood at US$686 billion.
China's armed forces will safeguard sovereignty, security and development interests, Premier Li Keqiang said today at the opening meeting of the third session of the 13th National People's Congress.
China has made important progress in strengthening national defense and the armed forces since last year, Li said, hailing the military for acting swiftly and "shouldering heavy responsibilities" in the fight against the coronaviorus outbreak.
From 2016 to 2019, the growth rate of the defense budget was 7.6 percent, 7 percent, 8.1 percent and 7.5 percent respectively, the Global Times reported.
At the NPC sessions in 2019, the defense budget was set at 1.19 trillion yuan (US$177.61 billion). Defense spending growth rate stood at 8.1 percent in 2018, 7 percent in 2017, and 7.6 percent in 2016, Xinhua reported at the time.-Agencies/The Standard