China to increase defense spending over seven percent this year

China will increase military spending by more than seven percent this year. It was announced at the National People's Congress (NPC), which is due to confirm President Xi Jinping's third term.

Outgoing Premier Li Keqiang claimed that external attempts to suppress and contain China are escalating. It was also announced at the meeting that China would pursue a reduced economic growth target of about five percent this year.

The Two Sessions, as the meetings are known, are an annual affair. But this year's sessions are particularly significant as delegates are expected to reshape several key Communist Party and state institutions.

The increase in military spending comes as Mr Xi is navigating worsening ties with the US over the Ukraine war and the recent spy balloon saga, even as he warms his embrace of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

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