The government’s 2018 budget projects a 15% increase in spending on foreign affairs, coming to a total of $9.5 billion, the Financial Times reports. This figure has doubled during President Xi Jinping’s leadership.
China’s growth rate in foreign affairs spending roughly doubles that of defence, which was announced earlier this week to receive an 8.1% boost this year.
This is a markedly more outward-looking approach in comparison with previous decades, with China looking to cement its influence around the world through both soft and hard power methods. “For the past five years we have pursued distinctively Chinese major country diplomacy on all fronts,” Premier Li Keqiang said in his address to the legislature on Monday.