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March 8, 2018

HMM: China test hypersonic space vehicle as Xi Jinping continues push to rival Trump military.

According to a bombshell report issued at the opening of China’s annual meeting of Parliament, the country’s 2018 defence budget will be 1.11trillion yuan (£127billion).

Military chiefs in China reportedly want to make the country’s armed forces the most powerful in the world and have set a target of 8.1 per cent growth.

At present, China is the second biggest military spender behind the US.

Sam Roggeveen, a visiting fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of the Australian National University in Canberra, said: “The pace and scale of this build-up is really dramatic.

Those are just the official defense spending figures. China is known to do much of its military spending off the books. These figures are a few years old, but they still pertain in trying to get a better idea of how much Beijing really spends:

Not everyone agrees with Beijing’s numbers. Critics have complained for years that China consistently under-reports its defense budget by not including spending that other countries would disclose.

In 2012, Beijing announced a military budget of $106 billion. But the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute pegged the real number at $159 billion. The Pentagon estimated it was anywhere from $135 and $215 billion.

But there’s also this WSJ item from Tuesday: China Spends More on Domestic Security as Xi’s Powers Grow.

Beijing’s budgets for internal and external security have grown faster than the economy as a whole for several years, but domestic security spending has grown far faster — to where it exceeds the national defense budget by roughly 20%.

So who does Xi think his government really needs protection from? That’s a question I put to Bill Whittle and Scott Ott on a recent Right Angle segment.