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China projected defense spending growth of 7.1% this year, the fastest pace since 2019 as President Joe Biden moves to strengthen the United States’ position in the Indo-Pacific region.

Military expenditure is expected to rise to 1.45 trillion yuan ($229 billion) in the coming year. The figure was released Saturday in the Ministry of Finance’s annual report at the start of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. A Bloomberg calculation of the latest numbers shows spending for this year will actually rise 7%.

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