Biggest Jump in World Defense Spending in 10 Years: Study

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Chinese military vehicles carrying DF-17 ballistic missiles roll during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Trucks carrying weapons including a nuclear-armed missile designed to evade U.S. defenses rumbled through Beijing as the Communist Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power with a parade Tuesday that showcased China's ambition as a rising global force. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Global spending on defense rose by 4% in 2019, the largest growth in 10 years, led by big increases from the U.S. and China, a study said Friday.

Beijing's military modernization program -- which includes developing new hard-to-detect hypersonic missiles -- is alarming Washington and helping drive U.S. defense spending, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said.

The IISS's annual "Military Balance" report said the increase alone in U.S. spending from 2018 to 2019 -- $53.4 billion -- was almost as big as Britain's entire defense budget.

Both China and the U.S. increased spending by 6.6%, the report said, while Europe -- driven by ongoing concerns about Russia -- stepped up by 4.2%.

But this growth only brought European defense spending back to levels seen in 2008, before the global financial crisis saw budgets slashed.

European NATO members have been seeking to increase spending to placate President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly accused them of freeloading on the U.S.

Trump has railed at European allies, particularly Germany, for not living up to a 2014 NATO pledge to spend 2% of GDP on defense.

The mercurial president's anger over spending has fueled concern about his commitment to the transatlantic alliance, culminating in an explosive 2018 summit where he launched a blistering public attack on Germany in a televised meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

This article was from Agence France Presse and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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