China on Tuesday announced a 7.2% hike in its defense budget for the coming year, the same rate of increase as the previous year, as Beijing continues to modernize its military amid rivalry with the United States and its network of allies.

The 1.67 trillion yuan ($231.4 billion) outlay, noted in a report outlined by Premier Li Qiang at the annual session of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), makes 2024 the ninth straight year to see a single-digit hike in the country’s defense budget.

That report also set a growth target of 5% for China this year — similar to last year — as its economy continues to founder over what analysts say are deep-seated structural issues.