China says it will increase military spending by more than 7-percent this year, while warning of “escalating” threats.

It was announced at the National People’s Congress, a rubber-stamp parliament, which is due to confirm President Xi Jinping’s third term.

Beijing’s stated military budget is dwarfed by that of the United States, which is four times greater.

But analysts believe China downplays how much it spends on defence.

In the past decade, China’s defence budget has risen by about 10-percent each year, with 2014 seeing the highest increase of 12-point-2 percent.

China’s outgoing Premier wrote in his report that “external attempts to suppress and contain China are escalating”.

The increase in military spending comes as Mr Xi is navigating worsening ties with the US over the Ukraine war and the recent spy balloon saga, even as he warms his embrace of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

US officials have also repeatedly warned that China may invade Taiwan in the coming years.

China has held ever-growing displays of military force in the air and seas around Taiwan, including the firing of ballistic missiles.