from Zero Hedge
With Sino-US diplomatic relations plumbing the lowest levels in modern history, China’s military leaders are pushing for a substantial increase in their budget to be announced at the National People’s Congress that starts on Friday, arguing that the world’s largest standing army needs more resources to cope with volatile challenges at home and overseas. And at the top of the list, according to the South China Morning Post, is the growing confrontation with the US.
With China-US relations sinking amid a trade war, spats over civil liberties and Taiwan, and conflicts over Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, recent months have added accusations between Washington and Beijing about the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. From Beijing’s viewpoint, the military threats are surfacing on its doorstep with US bombers running about 40 flights over contested areas of the South China and East China seas so far this year, or more than three times the number in the same period of 2019. US Navy warships have sailed four “freedom of navigation operations” in the area in the same period, compared with eight in all of last year.