World

Chinese leaders endorse end to Xi's term limits

Chinese leaders endorse end to Xi's term limits

China unveiled its largest rise in defence spending in three years on Monday, setting a target of 8.1percent growth for this year, fuelling an ambitious military modernisation programme and making its neighbours nervous.

Presenting his work report - a stocktaking of achievements of the past five years as well as the unveiling of a development road map for another year - Mr. Li told lawmakers assembled at an annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC) that China meant to raise its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by around 6.5%.

Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, delivered a work report to 2,149 political advisors who gathered to discuss major political, economic, and social issues in the world's most populous nation and second largest economy.

Premier Li Keqiang told the opening session in an address, China will "advance all aspects of military training and war preparedness, and firmly and resolvedly safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests".

"The constitution, which reflects the common will of the Communist Party of China and Chinese people, is China's fundamental law and the general chapter for governing the country well and ensuring national security", Zhang said.

While China is aiming for a narrower official deficit, leaders still plan to expand the issuance of special objective bonds, which are sold by local governments to finance items that aren't included in the general public budget and not counted in the deficit ratio released annually.

Li set China's real GDP growth target for 2018 at "around 6.5%", unchanged from 2017 despite that the Chinese economy grew a surprising 6.9% past year.

The figure released in a report Monday to the ceremonial National People's Congress is an increase in the growth rate from past year, when finance ministry officials said the budget was rising 7 percent to $151 billion.

"There is every indication that China wants to expand what it will call defense capabilities in the South China Sea", Roggeveen predicted.

He also applauded when the Premier vowed to build China into a leader in manufacturing by striving to meet the highest worldwide standards in all products, encourage the spirit of workmanship, and ignite a revolution in the quality of Chinese-made goods.

Xinhua said that China's recent reorganization of its military cut in half the number of "land force personnel among the entire" People's Liberation Army.

China says it spends 1.3 percent of its GDP on military spending.

"The government will have to continue with the same fiscal support as a year ago", but also spend more and increase off-balance sheet borrowing, she said.

As mentioned in the government work report, the first China International Import Expo has been slated for November 5 to 10 this year in Shanghai to help more foreign goods enter China with a middle-income population of 400 million, already the world's biggest.

"In recent years, China's defense budget growth stopped being double digit". U.S. provocations in the South China Sea, tension in the Taiwan Strait and the United States, Japan, Australia and India forming alliances demand a rise in spending, it added.

Perhaps the most relevant comparison of military budgets is between China and its rival India.

Though President Donald Trump has (jokingly) expressed his approval, experts largely agree that the move could destabilize decades of progress toward democracy and instead move China even further toward authoritarianism.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday that Beijing will raise its defence budget this year by a hefty 8.1% over 2017, signalling the country's intent to build world-class armed forces.


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