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What’s happening: China’s Communist Party marked 70 years in power Tuesday with a military parade showcasing the country’s global ambitions and advancements in weapons technology. Trucks carrying nuclear missiles designed to evade U.S. defenses, a supersonic attack drone and other products of a two-decade-old weapons development effort rolled through Beijing as soldiers marched past President Xi Jinping and other leaders on Tiananmen Square. Fighter jets flew over spectators who waved Chinese flags. [Frank Miles / Fox News]
Details: Thousands of participants performed a synchronized dance, holding up lighted boards to make various formations including the Chinese flag. The evening celebration followed a daytime parade in which China showcased both its military and its achievements since the Communist Party came to power. [AP]
Big picture: For the party, this is one of the most consequential national day celebrations. The state it controls has now outlived the Soviet Union that was once its sponsor and supporter; Chinese officials for years have studied the collapse of the USSR in a bid to avoid a similar fate for the PRC. [Emma Graham-Harrison and Verna Yu / The Guardian]
Why it matters: Sustaining that is now the greatest challenge facing Mr. Xi and the party. China’s growth has slowed to its weakest point in decades, as the trade war grinds on the economy and consumers pull back. While trade talks continue, President Trump has continued to lash out at China, calling it a “threat to the world.” [Steven Lee Myers / New York Times]
Context: China’s annual military budget is estimated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute to be about 1.7 trillion yuan. This is about 1.9% of China’s GDP. [Peter Robertson / The Conversation]
Military Spending: China has increased investment in its military in recent years, seeking to replace its outdated Soviet equipment and turn the PLA into a state-of-the-art force by 2049. The push for modernization occurred at the same time the United States was mired in two bloody conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even though no country comes close to matching U.S. military expenditure which came to $649 billion last year (China was second with $250 billion), Beijing had the highest increase of any country by far between 2009 and 2018, according to Sipri. [Niall McCarthy / Statista]
Credit: Statista. Be sure to sign up for our nonpartisan newsletter to have stats and stories like this delivered directly to your inbox. Cover: Officer Candidate School Graduation, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama, October, 2012 courtesey of Bob Smith on Unsplash.