This year's increase is significantly larger than the 5.7 percent increase in general public expenditure, and it effectively doubles what China spent on its military 10 years ago. (Related: Air Force general warns US will be at war with China by 2025.)
The last time China's defense spending rose was in 2019, when the country increased military spending by 7.5 percent to 1.19 trillion yuan.
China has the largest active military force in the world, with over two million personnel currently serving in the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's official armed forces and the military wing of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), commanded by a party commission led by President and CCP Party Leader Xi Jinping.
The PLA also boasts the world's largest navy, recently launching its third aircraft carrier. According to the U.S., China also has the largest air force in the Indo-Pacific region, with more than half of its fighter planes consisting of fourth or fifth generation models, putting them on par with American combat aircraft.
China also boasts a massive stockpile of other advanced military equipment, including missiles, stealth aircraft, bomber planes capable of delivering nuclear warheads, advanced surface ships and nuclear-powered submarines.
Premier Li Keqiang presented a draft of the military budget to the National People's Congress, the country's legislature, claiming the additional funding is set to "boost combat preparedness and enhance military capabilities."
"We remain committed to the Party's absolute leadership over the people's armed forces," he said. "The people's armed forces intensified efforts to enhance their political loyalty, to strengthen themselves through reform, scientific and technological advances, personnel training and to practice law-based governance."
The United States has also been increasing its defense spending. In December, Congress authorized over $800 billion in defense spending for the fiscal year ending on Sept. 30. This is 12 percent higher than the $767 billion the U.S. spent during the 2022 fiscal year.
The increased spending was meant to stay ahead of inflation and to provide America's armed forces with additional resources to counter Chinese and Russian military capabilities.
The U.S. is closely watching Chinese efforts to rapidly increase its defense spending, concerned by Beijing's strategic intentions with this larger military budget and the development of its armed forces, especially as the CCP has intentionally stoked tensions with Taiwan in recent years.
The U.S. has responded by opening a steady flow of weapons sales to Taiwan, including ground military hardware, air defense systems and missiles and fighter jets like F-16s. Taiwan itself has extended mandatory military service from four months to a year and has begun revitalization efforts for its domestic defense industries, including building submarines for the first time.
In his remarks to the legislature regarding Taiwan, Li claimed that the current leadership is following the party's "overall policy for the new era on resolving the Taiwan Question and resolutely fighting against separatism and countered interference."
Read the latest news coming out of China at CommunistChina.news.
Watch this clip from G News featuring Miles Guo discussing Chinese President Xi Jinping's preparations for the invasion of Taiwan.