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Beijing outlines aim to accelerate military modernisation

Janes Defence Budgets forecasts that growth in China's total military spending, which includes its official defence budget, will start to slow down in the second half of this decade. (Janes)

China released its annual ‘work report' on 12 March, outlining a government commitment to accelerate military modernisation in line with its current five-year plan, which ends in 2025.

The work report was formally adopted one day earlier on the final day of the second session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing.

In the report, the government said that it had made “new achievements and progress in national defence and military development” during 2023. It also outlined a commitment for similar progress in 2024.

“We will modernise the military governance system, advance military development as outlined in the 14th Five-Year Plan and speed up the implementation of major defence-related projects,” it said.

The report added that the government would take “critical steps” in 2024 to meet the centenary goal of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). This stated goal is for the PLA to achieve ‘military development' by 2027, its 100th anniversary. The goal is regarded by Beijing as a key milestone for the PLA to become a ‘world-class' military force by the middle of the century.

“The armed forces will strengthen all-around military training and combat readiness, make well-co-ordinated efforts to improve military preparedness, and devote great energy to training under combat conditions, so as to firmly safeguard China's national sovereignty, security, and development interests,” the work report said in reference to aims in 2024.

The report also reiterated a government commitment to “consolidate and enhance” national military strategies and capabilities and to “refine” structures related to defence production and research and development (R&D).

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