China Aims For Economic Growth Of Around 6.5% In 2018

He also said the military, the government, and its people must always be as "strong as stone".

Overseas Chinese students are encouraged to return to China to pursue business and other innovative ventures.

"We will further alleviate companies' tax burdens", Li said to an audience of 5,000 attendees of China's legislative bodies in the capital. A number of major science and technology innovation programmes will be launched, and top-quality national laboratories will be set up, said the premier.

China's military build-up has rattled the nerves of its neighbours, particularly because it has taken an increasingly assertive stance in its territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas and over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui on Sunday said China's "moderate" defence spending rises in the past few years are less than other major countries and will not threaten anyone.

And while China has the second-largest defence budget in the world, spending remains leagues behind that of the United States, said Fudan University global relations professor Shen Dingli.

China spent US$151 billion on the PLA previous year, the second largest defence budget in the world but still four times less than the US$603 billion USA outlay, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based think-tank.

Much of China's energies have been focused on what is known as anti-access/area denial, or A2/AD operations, which seek to scare the U.S. Navy and other forces far from China's shores. That would leave the People's Liberation Army's strength at around 2 million troops.

The unchanged growth target was "fitting", China said, as its economy was moving from a phase of "rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development" and would allow it to "achieve relatively full employment", BBC reported.

Beijing's decision to boost military spending reversed a 2015 decision to more closely match spending on its armed forces with slower gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

Last year, defence spending was set to increase by just 7 percent, to 1.044 trillion yuan ($164.60 billion) about one-quarter of the proposed US defence spending for the year.

China's military growth also includes the development of anti-satellite missiles, nuclear attack submarines, and its aircraft carrier capabilities.

All three fleets are growing "leaner and meaner" due to a greater emphasis on technical sophistication, Erickson wrote, adding that the USA also anticipates facing a Chinese submarine fleet twice its number, though less technologically advanced.

That's not enough for disposal income to catch up with rising living costs, said New Hope Group's chairman Liu Yonghao, an adviser to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, as the legislature's advisory body is called.

"But if the United States takes actions that hurt Chinese interests, China will not sit idly by and will take necessary measures", Zhang said in China's strongest reaction yet since Trump announced the levies on Friday.

"China has not had any wars in the past 30 years", he said.


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