China Slows Military Spending Growth as Economy Weakens

Smallest Single Year Increase Expected Since 2010

The common modern narrative of keeping military spending pegged to a certain percentage of GDP has given way to years of double-digit spending increases in China, but those seem to be coming to an end, with the next military budget expected to grow at a slower rate, reflective of an economic slowdown.

Estimates of a 7% annual growth rate still sound like a lot, but are the lowest China has experienced since 2010, and reflective of China’s recent announcement that they expect growth to be in the realm of 6.5%, which itself would be enviable in most nations, but is slow for China.

China’s military has the second largest budget in the world, though only a fraction of the United States’ spending. China, however, has kept their GDP percentage comparatively low, a healthy 1.3%, while the United States is spending well in excess of 3% of its GDP on military, and plans a near 10% increase in 2018 despite GDP growth being only in the 2.2% range.

As with the US military and it’s record spending, there’s never an increase that’s “enough” by the brass’ reckoning, and reports are already quoting a lot of Chinese military figures unhappy with the mere 7% increase in spending, believing it is insufficient.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of