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Politics

China presses on with defense buildup as US tensions grow

Boost amid falling revenue reflects aggressive diplomatic posture

China has been racing to develop advanced weaponry.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China announced on Friday a 6.6% increase in annual defense spending to 1.27 trillion yuan ($178 billion) even with its economy still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, in a move that risks further escalating tensions with the U.S.

While this is a smaller rise than last year's 7.5%, that the military budget hit a new record at a time when government revenue is expected to drop for the first time in 44 years underscores its importance to Beijing. China's official defense budget ranks second only to the U.S., and because it does not include such items as research and development, the actual total is likely even higher.

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