China announces 8.1% defence budget increase

Chinas economy expanded 6.9 per cent year-on-year in 2017 above the government's target of around 6.5 per cent. File

Xi had seemed to signal his intentions to stay on beyond the traditional limit of two five-year terms as president and party secretary by declining to appoint an obvious successor at last year's Communist Party congress.

"We have undertaken major missions involving the protection of maritime rights, countering terrorism and maintaining stability, disaster rescue and relief, global peacekeeping, escort services in the Gulf of Aden, and humanitarian rescue", Li said of the Chinese military's recent activities. That is widely expected to include the promotion of Xi's top economic adviser to a post overseeing reform. The country will host the first China International Import Expo this year and lower import tariffs on products including automobiles and some everyday consumer goods. Xi recently began his second five-year term.

The country will fully open up its general manufacturing sector and expand foreign investment access to sectors like financial services, telecommunications, medical services, education, elderly care, and new-energy vehicles.

At the same time the government is continuing with capacity cuts (and no doubt later this year in early Winter production curbs) in steel and coal mining. When I was in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, the United States could fly a helicopter to bring ice-cream and beer to its troops. According to a recent report from the U.S. Commerce Department, "The recent global excess capacity is 700 million tons, nearly 7 times the annual total of U.S. steel consumption". -China relations, the SCMP reports.

Wang Qishan 王岐山, the 69-year-old close ally of Xi Jinping who unexpectedly obeyed retirement norms last fall (a head fake, in effect, for Xi setting himself up to do the opposite this year), was featured heavily on state television during the Work Report.

To name China's eight non-communist parties is quite challenging for many foreigners, let alone understand the differences between them. It comes amid a marathon campaign to nurture self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption instead of trade and investment and to rein in surging debt that prompted ratings agencies to cut Beijing's government credit rating past year.

"The benefit of Xi's sloganeering is that it creates a political environment that will allow growth targets to be adjusted downwards more easily than in the past", he said. Authorities announced its founder and chairman would be prosecuted on charges of improper fundraising.

The 8.1 per cent increase unveiled on Monday is higher than last year's budget allocation, when China upped military spending by 7 per cent over the previous year. Quartz says that "most analysts have read it as a sign that Beijing is more comfortable with slower economic growth", particularly as it tries to tackle income inequality and environmental degradation. He said that was the minimum required to meet Beijing's goal of doubling economic output from its 2010 level by 2020.

Some have raised concerns about a return to one-man rule.

A chance was offered Tuesday as the parties' leaders came to a press conference to introduce how their organizations have effectively participated in China's system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation, and made contributions to the modernization drive of the country.

The premier said Beijing will speed up state-led development in an array of technology fields including artificial intelligence, integrated circuits, mobile communications, aircraft engines and electric cars.

"This is a significant structural change that we had [previously] tried but failed to achieve", he said.

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