Monday, 19 March, 2018

China says will sharply widen market access for foreign investors

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 Increases Defence Spending To $175 Billion Rattling Neighbours
Melinda Barton | 07 March, 2018, 11:50

"China's economic and financial risks are on the whole manageable", said Li's work report, which was distributed to journalists ahead of the parliamentary session's opening.

"There is every indication that China wants to expand what it will call defense capabilities in the South China Sea", Roggeveen predicted. China insists its military spending is transparent and that it poses a threat to nobody, simply needing to update old equipment and defend its legitimate interests, even as it is increasingly assertive over disputes in the East and South China Seas and on self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims.

On March 5, the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that the country's military budget would grow by 8.1 percent, up to 1.11 trillion yuan [$175 billion] in 2018.

As China rolls out new military hardware, such as stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and anti-satellite missiles, spending has dramatically increased in the past few years.

China received United States dollars 131 billion past year, according to government report submitted to the NPC yesterday.

China set a 2018 growth target of around 6.5 percent, omitting an intention to hit a faster pace if possible, as leaders intensify their push to ensure financial stability.

Battlelines are also being drawn for a trade conflict between China and the USA, the world's two biggest economies.

Since coming to power in 2012, the president has trumpeted the need to build a stronger combat-ready military, while cementing his leadership over the army, which was ordered to pledge absolute loyalty to him previous year.

U.S. warships, meanwhile, regularly conduct "freedom of navigation" operations near the islands to challenge China's territorial claims.

China is the second largest spender on defence after the US.

Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), revealed the move at a press conference prior to the yearly meeting.

Today, China's material and technological foundations are much stronger; its industrial system is complete, its market is vast, its human resources are abundant, and its entrepreneurs and innovators are dynamic, Li pointed out.

He said Japan will monitor China's defense policies closely while coordinating with other countries concerned in urging it to boost transparency and abide by global codes of conduct.

"The term "innovation" has been mentioned 53 times and the "internet" 10 times at this year's government work report", said Lei Jun, an NPC deputy and founder of Xiaomi Technology, who was excited about the government's efforts to drive innovation and internet technology development.

China does not provide a breakdown of its defense budget, leading neighbors and other military powers to complain that Beijing's lack of transparency has added to regional tension.