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U.S., China lead world as military spending increases globally

An aerial photo of the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., also known as the Pentagon. Photo by Shutterstock.com
An aerial photo of the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., also known as the Pentagon. Photo by Shutterstock.com

Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Global defense spending reached a new high point in 2020, with the United States spending more than any other country and China pulling in second, according to data released by The International Institute for Strategic Studies this week.

The IISS analyzed numbers from the Military Balance Plus database and found that global defense spending increased in 2020 to reach $1.83 trillion -- a 3.9% increase over 2019 figures.

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The United States, which spent $738 billion on defense in 2020, accounted for 40.3% of total global defense spending, the IISS said.

China's defense spending did not increase as sharply in 2020 as it did in 2019, but the country still spent $193.3 billion on defense in 2020 -- $12 billion more than the year before.

Overall global defense spending grew by 3.9%, the report said.

IISS noted that defense spending rose inversely with overall global economic activity, which contracted last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report also said European defense spending grew by 2% in 2020.

That's a smaller rate of growth than the 4.1% increase from 2019 -- but part of an upward trend, with overall defense spending by NATO members being up 20% from 2014.

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