Sunday, 22 April, 2018


China Focus: China to increase 2018 defense budget by 8.1 percent

Li said a steady rise in import and export volumes can be expected this year a view unchanged from a year ago. No export target was given for the third straight year China Focus: China to increase 2018 defense budget by 8.1 percent
Noah Ferguson | 07 March, 2018, 21:43

Beijing will splash out 1.11 trillion yuan (S$230 billion) on its military, according to a budget report presented before the opening session of the annual National People's Congress.

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

China's defence spending as a share of GDP and the budget also remains lower than that of other major nations, he said.

Soldier stand next to a J-10 fighter jet during an exhibition for the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) outside Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution in Beijing, China July 28, 2017.

China's military build-up has rattled the nerves of its neighbors, particularly because of its increasingly assertive stance in territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas and over Taiwan, a self-ruled territory Beijing claims as its own. Under the new budget, China is spending three times as much on defense as India, and a good deal of its military infrastructure buildup is occurring near the Indian border in the Himalayas.

PLA also announced a year ago that it would reduce its grounds troops to less than a million as part of Chinese military modernisation under which the navy has been given greater role to expand China s global influence. "China's development will not pose a threat to other countries", Zhang said.

Mr Li also set this year's economic growth target at around 6.5 percent, which would be among the world's strongest if achieved, but way below the double digits during the peak years of China's economic rise.

The National People's Congress (NPC) is also expected to remove the two-term presidential limit, enabling Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely.

At the same time, he pledged tax cuts of 800 billion yuan ($126 billion) for companies and individuals and set a 6.5 percent annual economic growth target - the same as last year's target but slower than the actual performance of 6.9 percent. In 2016, it grew 7.6 percent.

"Some spending will be hidden in civilian spending", said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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

China has no desire to overturn the existing worldwide order and its increasingly powerful military does not constitute a threat to others, the spokesman for the country's ceremonial legislature said on Sunday. "I expect eventually we will see warships and aircraft there regularly, if not based there permanently".

China says it spends 1.3 percent of its GDP on military spending. The United States and the European Union complain that surplus of Chinese steel and aluminum flooding into global markets depresses prices and threatens jobs.

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