China’s defence spending will exceed Rmb1tn ($145bn) for the first time this year, according to new figures from the annual budget released by the country’s finance ministry.

The Ministry of Finance on Monday announced that the annual budget for military defence in 2017 would come to Rmb1.044tn, reflecting a 7 per cent rise from the previous year.

That growth rate – announced at the weekend, but without the landmark renminbi figure – nonetheless represents a slowdown from 2015′s rise of 8 per cent.

Both the quickest rise and largest absolute increase in China’s military spending plans came in 2014 when spending grew 12 per cent year on year, a rise of Rmb88bn. China’s defence budget has grown at a double-digit rate for the last 25 years, and the country now ranks second only to the US in terms of global military spending.

That remains a distant second, however, US President Donald Trump has asked for a 10 per cent increase in US defence spending this year, potentially adding another $54bn to a military spending budget that exceeded $600bn in 2016.

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