China says military no threat, but refuses to reveal budget

China says military no threat, but refuses to reveal budget

Early this week, Beijing rushed its top diplomat Yang Jiechi followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping's economic advisor Liu He to the U.S. to pacify the Trump administration to avert a "trade war" between the two countries.

A top Chinese official called Saturday for continued efforts to rally non-mainland ethnic Chinese, including those overseas, around the country's national interests and help realize President Xi Jinping's "Chinese Dream" of national rejuvenation.

Trump and Xi met on multiple occasions during Trump's first year in office, including a trip Trump made to China and a weekend Xi and his wife spent at Mar-a-Lago in April. According to a report in CNN, Trump said, "He's now president for life".

President Donald Trump has criticized China mercilessly in the past, but, now he's praising China's leader and a proposed law change - which are raising some raising eyebrows.

"I think it's great", Trump added. "Maybe we'll give that a shot some day".

The comments were made as the recently announced intention of the USA to impose tariffs has heightened global concerns over potential trade confrontations, particularly those between the world's two largest economies.

After raucous applause, he continued: "He's the most powerful president, you know, person, in 100 years in China".

If it weren't for Trump's history of celebrating such strongmen, it might be easy to overlook his latest swooning over Xi as just a joke. He has repeatedly praised Russia's President Vladimir Putin, rating him an "A" in leadership and admired his approval numbers. He has also touted his "great friendship" with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His friendliness with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is also particularly noteworthy.

Trump ratched up the rhetoric on Saturday, threatening a tax on cars from the European Union if it enacts retaliatory measures.

The annual Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, headed by Yu since 2013, is mostly ceremonial but created to present an image of a diverse, big-tent advisory body that includes non-Communist Party members, minority ethnic groups, business leaders, religious groups, artists, and representatives from Hong Kong and Macau all taking part in China's governance.

The Chinese system is new, Xi said, because it unites all political parties and people without party affiliation toward a common goal, effectively preventing the flaws of the absence of oversight in one-party rule, or power rotation and nasty competition among multiple political parties. The comments may have also been especially welcome considering Xi's step towards dictatorship remains a sensitive issue inside China.

Xi said the system is new because it combines Marxist political party theories with China's reality, and truly, extensively and in the long term represents fundamental interests of all people and all ethnic groups and fulfills their aspiration, avoiding the defects of the old-fashioned party system which represents only a selective few or the vested interest.