This is in continuation of years of strong spending on its growing military that is challenging U.S. dominance in the Indo-Pacific.
China holds the second largest defense budget in the world after the U.S. This allows it to keep the largest standing military with 3 million personnel, advanced weaponry including stealth fighters, advanced missile force, and nuclear-powered submarines.
The 6.8% increase in this year's growth is more than the 6.8% increase from last year. This demonstrates China's determination not to let go of its drive to expand and modernize the armed forces, despite high levels government debt and a slowing economic environment, which was partly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S., however, increased its defense spending by approximately 2% to $768.2 million this year.
According to the Chinese government, most of the increases in spending will be used to improve welfare for troops. The budget does not include much of China's weaponry spending, which is largely developed in China.
As the military branch of the ruling Communist Party's ruling Communist Party, the People's Liberation Army plays a significant political role. It is overseen by President and party leader Xi Jinping who also heads the government armed forces commissions.
While the military's main purpose is to keep Taiwan from slipping under its control, it has become more assertive in the South China Sea and the Western Pacific, as well as the Indian Ocean.
Premier Li Keqiang, in his speech to Saturday's ceremonial legislature's opening session, stated that China will "fully implement Xi Jinping's thoughts on strengthening the armed force and the military strategy of the new era... strengthen party leadership, party building in every aspect of the military."
Li stated that China has not changed its approach to Taiwan. If necessary, it may threaten to annexe Taiwan by force.
Li stated that China would "promote peaceful growth of relations across Taiwan Strait and the unification of China." "We strongly oppose any separatist activities for Taiwan independence and we strongly oppose foreign interference."
The invasion by Russia of Ukraine has sparked speculation that China may be more inclined to use force against Taiwan if it feels there is no resolution from the U.S. or its allies.
Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Beijing to discuss Russia's objections about NATO expansion. Putin supported China's claim for Taiwan's self-governing island democracy.
China flew eight fighter jets and a reconnaissance propeller aircraft through Taiwan's air defence identification zone on February 24, the day Russian troops entered Ukraine. This prompted Taiwan's air force scrambled jets and issued warnings.
Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, warned that a China emboldened could be a threat at a Munich security conference on February 19.
Johnson stated that "if Ukraine is threatened, the shock will echo throughout the world." Johnson stated, "And those echoes would be heard throughout East Asia and Taiwan. It would be easy to conclude that aggression pays and that might is correct.
On Thursday, the top U.S. Air Force Commander in the Pacific stated that he was closely monitoring China's military movements.
At a Florida symposium, Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach stated that he was watching the birds like a hawk. "I haven’t seen anything yet, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t discussed it internally or won’t try something.