Countries could find it "impossible" to meet defence spending targets as a result of the coronavirus crisis, an expert has warned.
It comes as nations across the world continue with lockdown measures amid widespread economic concerns.
Dr Karin von Hippel, Director General of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told this week's BFBS Sitrep podcast that the economic downturn could see defence spending cut.
Dr von Hippel said "many countries" will instead have to "spend much more money on social welfare, on unemployment benefits, [and] on health systems" because of the pandemic.
The Government had pledged to increase defence spending in its manifesto, while the major review of British defence, security and foreign policy has been paused over COVID-19.
She said the Government will have to consider the impact of the virus in the review.
While the expert warned "most countries" will be in the "same boat" in terms of the economic impact of the pandemic, she said some countries will find it easier to cope.
"It will be easier if you’re an authoritarian state like China but even the Chinese will be under a lot of pressure," Dr von Hippel said.
How much the health crisis will play into Chinese interests is largely down to the response of other countries, the expert explained.
“I think some countries are going to think really carefully about decoupling from China" she told the podcast.
"Other countries are going to think China should make some sort of reparations and maybe call for something like that.”
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