Published: Tue, March 06, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

China says defense budget to rise to $173 billion in 2018

China says defense budget to rise to $173 billion in 2018

"Resolutely safeguard General Secretary Xi Jinping's core status and the authority of the party's central committee and its centralized and unified leadership", Li said in a speech to almost 3,000 delegates to the ceremonial legislature in the Great Hall of the People.

China spent $151 billion on the People's Liberation Army a year ago, the second largest defense budget in the world but still four times less than the $603 billion USA outlay, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based think tank.

Almost 3,000 delegates from across China will gather at the imposing Great Hall of the People to sign off on the Communist Party's agenda during the two-week meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC).

China will continue to achieve the three major tasks to prevent major risks - mainly financial risks, targeted poverty alleviation and pollution control, the report said.

The World second biggest economy, China has warned the United state of America that they are ready to hit back at them if the U.S. tries to harm its economic interests.

The report also warned Taiwan that China "will never tolerate any separatist schemes" amid tensions between the mainland and the self-ruled island.

Last year, experts of the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) claimed that in 2032, mainland China would likely overtake the United States as the world's largest economy in dollar terms. Li said China has successfully managed economic downward pressure and avoided an economic "hard landing". China's economy is now relying more on services than industrial production.

China says defense budget to rise to $173 billion in 2018
China says defense budget to rise to $173 billion in 2018

Chinese economy outperformed its annual growth target by expanding 6.9 per cent last year, picking up for the first time in seven years.

The fiscal deficit is set at 2.38 trillion yuan ($375.2 billion) this year and the fiscal deficit to GDP ratio is set at 2.6 percent, compared with 3 percent set last year, according to the report.

While the central bank has been gingerly raising money market rates to discourage riskier lending practices, it has also kept markets well supplied with funds when there are worries of a deeper cash squeeze, and bank lending hit a fresh record previous year.

And the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said recently that the country's debt had ballooned and was now equivalent to 234% of the total output.

"The consumer price index is expected to amount to 3 percent in 2018", the report said, stressing that the urban unemployment in the country will likely remain at the level of 4.5-percent. The budget deficit target cut was the first in years, suggesting Beijing will be more watchful of fiscal spending as China advances its fight against financial risks.

China's rubber-stamp parliament kicked off its most significant meeting in a generation on Monday, preparing to offer Xi Jinping a lifetime mandate to mould the Asian giant into a global superpower.

The ruling Communist Party last month set the stage for Xi to stay in office indefinitely, with a proposal to remove term limits from the constitution.

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