China’s 2023 Defense Spending: Figures, Intentions and Concerns

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The PRC’s decision to significantly increase its defense budget again this year is unsurprising given escalating geopolitical tensions with the U.S. and the Russia-Ukraine war. While China’s defense spending remains behind the U.S., the continuous nominal increases are alarming to both Washington and China’s neighbors, given the growing tensions over Taiwan, the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the China-India border dispute in the Himalayas. A significant contributing factor to anxiety over the PRC’s military modernization is the lack of transparency on defense spending, both in terms of estimates and in classifying areas of spending.

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