Overwhelming Support To Scrap Term Limit For Xi Jinping: China's Communist Party

World       by Dawood Rehman | Published

Beijing will increase the spending by 8.1 percent over past year, amounting to a 2018 defense budget of roughly $175 billion, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Monday.

"We will stick to the Chinese path in strengthening our armed forces, advance all aspects of military training and war preparedness", Li said.

"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.

The inspiring message in the government work report echoes the Chinese leadership's commitment made at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last October that "China will not close its door to the world, and it will only become more and more open".

At the same time, he pledged tax cuts of 800 billion yuan for companies and individuals and set a 6.5% annual economic growth target - the same as last year's target but slower than the actual performance of 6.9%.

China has no desire to overturn the existing global order and its increasingly powerful military does not constitute a threat to others, the spokesman for the country's ceremonial legislature said Sunday.

Xinhua said China actually spent $161.87 billion in national defense a year ago, or about 1.3 percent of its gross domestic product.

"China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea", the strategy said. Officials say China needs continuity as Beijing carries out long-range changes including making state industry more competitive and productive and developing profitable high-tech industry.

'I think it's great': Trump praises Xi Jinping after China scraps presidential term limit

The Congress continues until March 20 and will also see a number of new senior technocrats and others appointed to fill some key roles, such as head of the country's central bank.

This year's defense budget comes to about 1.3 percent of last year's GDP of $12.4 trillion.

In an editorial, the official China Daily said the figure had prompted "finger-pointing from the usual suspects". "It's an evolution. The more worrying one is the defense budget increase in the United States", Carlyle Thayer, emeritus professor at the Australian Defense Force Academy in Canberra, told Sputnik.

The emphasis in China's economy has been changed from the previous era of high-speed growth to one of high-quality growth, with great changes taking place in the economy, such as upgrading of the people's consumption patterns, Xi said.

The total amount allocated to the military this year is $174.6 billion, Xinhua reported, citing a report available to the media ahead of Monday's NPC opening.

For more, we recommend reading Trivium or the New York Times (paywall), or the full Work Report, Budget, and plan of the NDRC (National Development and Reform Commission), courtesy of the Wall Street Journal. In comparison, the United States spent as much as 5.7 percent of its annual GDP on military in the late 1980s before the end of the Cold War and continued to invest about 3.3 percent of its annual GDP on military in recent years.

This year's defence budget for China would be at a whopping 175 billion dollars.

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.

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