China boosts defense spending by 6.8% amid debt, pandemic

BEIJING (AP) — China will boost defense spending by 6.8% this year amid high government debt and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic impact. The budget report released Friday said China would spend $210 billion on national defense in the coming year. That’s up from the 6.6% increase last year that was the lowest percentage increase in at least two decades. The military budget has dipped during periods of slower economic growth, but has also been dropping steadily from the double-digit percentage increases of past years. That’s because the increasingly powerful military is maturing and rapid expansion of what is already the world’s second largest defense budget is no longer required.