Monday, 18 June, 2018

China defends hike in military spending

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Charlie Simmons | 09 March, 2018, 09:33

Xinhua cited a budget report submitted Monday to the first session of the 13th National People's Congress now underway in Beijing.

The government had also succeeded in rebalancing the world's second-largest economy, steering it away from its dependence on manufacturing output, and increasing the contributions of consumer spending and the services sector, Li said.

"Faced with profound changes in the national security environment" the absolute leadership of the military by the ruling Communist Party must be observed, and the unity between the government and the military, and the people and the military, must always be "strong as stone", he said.

The head of the Navy's Pacific Fleet is calling for more transparency from China after the country announced its biggest jump in military spending in three years.

The growth target of "around 6.5 percent" announced by Premier Li Keqiang to China's ceremonial legislature, little-changed from a year ago, would be among the world's strongest if achieved.

"Globally, other nations could start to question China's intentions, if it continues to spend heavily on military amid slowed economic growth", Ding said.

China reiterated on Monday its commitment to further opening up and support for economic globalization to facilitate both domestic and global development.

Li also said China had basically completed efforts to cut back the size of its armed forces by 300,000, a move President Xi Jinping announced in 2015 to improve efficiency that had caused unease in the ranks. "China's development will not pose a threat to other countries", Zhang said.

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He said one of China's goals is that "unity between the government and the military, and the people and the military, must always be strong as stone", which is a fairly blunt statement of militaristic nationalism.

China's "intent is not clearly understood", he said.

This year's outlay compares with a 7 per cent increase last year and 7.6 per cent in 2016. "What is unclear, however, is whether the United States will want to rise to that challenge".

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.

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 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.

"In recent years, China's defense budget growth stopped being double digit".

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

Xi said the Chinese system is new because it combines Marxist political party theories with China's reality, and truly, extensively and in the long term represents fundamental interests of all people and all ethnic groups and fulfills their aspiration, avoiding the defects of the old-fashioned party system which represents only a selective few or the vested interest. That is particularly troubling as China moves toward a strongman dictatorship model under President Xi Jinping, who can now rule for life if he chooses.

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