China on Monday unveiled its largest rise in defense spending in three years, setting a target of 8.1 per cent growth over 2017, fueling an ambitious military modernisation program amid rising concerns over its security.
The 2018 defence budget will be 1.11trillion yuan (£127billion), according to a bombshell report issued at the opening of China's annual meeting of parliament. China's defense budget is the second-largest in the world, but even with "off book" expenditures, it is a fraction of the United States' budget in excess of $700 billion.
"We will stick to the Chinese path in strengthening our armed forces, advance all aspects of military training and war preparedness, " Premier Li Keqiang said as he read a report to almost 3,000 delegates at the Great Hall of the People.
"Faced with profound changes in the national security environment, we must treat the Party's goal of building a stronger armed forces for the new era as our guide", said Li. The most dramatic Chinese military spending surge occurred during the previous decade, when annual increases ran into double digits, albeit with a lower military spending baseline and smaller economy factored into those percentages.
China will target 6.5 percent economic growth overall this year, Li announced, an entirely unsurprising number, but notably without last year's caveat that it could be "higher if possible in practice".
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Mixing 27 unforced errors with 34 winners, it was far from easy for the unseeded Williams on the slow hardcourt in Indian Wells . She blistered her second serve down the line, and went on to win the point and the ensuing one to stay on serve.
"China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea", the strategy said.
The system makes a great contribution to the political civilisation of mankind, since it's not only suitable for China's reality but also accords with nation's excellent traditional culture of selflessness and inclusiveness, Mr Xi said.
Mr. Li underscored that China had fulfilled its earlier goal of cutting troop numbers by 3,00,000, as part of a road map to build a modern, technology-driven military force.
China insists its military spending is transparent and that it does not pose a threat, but is needed to update old equipment and defend its legitimate interests.
"The 2.6% does not look consistent with ample growth nor does it look achievable without fiscal reform", she said.
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China is aggressively working to expand its regional influence, which is something of concern to USA lawmakers. About $184 million was destined South Sudan and $110 million for Somalia amid conflicts in both countries.
China plans to do more to support areas affected by extreme poverty, with the central budget's newly enlarged poverty reduction funds and related transfer payments now weighted toward these areas.
The proposal, part of Trump's budget request for the USA government, would provide the Pentagon $617-billion and an additional $69-billion to fund ongoing wars in fiscal year 2019. "It is increasingly clear that China and Russian Federation want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model - gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions".
Perhaps the most relevant comparison of military budgets is between China and its rival India.
President Donald Trump announced last Thursday he would impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminium to protect United States producers, risking retaliation from major trade partners like China, Europe and neighboring Canada and sparking fears of a global trade war.
USA 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.
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We understand that what we've done in NY may be a hard sell elsewhere, but all kids deserve this kind of protection. Stafford said limiting the presence on high school campuses to students and staff is paramount.
In his speech in Florida, President Trump also called President Xi "a great gentleman" who was "the most powerful (Chinese) president in a hundred years", and lauded him for treating him "tremendously well" during Mr. Trump's visit in November 2017.