China spends more on defence, emphasis on militarisation

China expects its huge economy to grow more slowly this year

Prime Minister Li Keqiang also set a target of 6.5% growth for the economy, the Xinhua reports.

According to Maj. Gen. Zhen Chou, the increase in China's national defense budget is reasonable, legal, appropriate and sustainable, given the profound changes in China's national strength, the security environment and the global strategic situation.

"Technologically speaking, the PLA has progressed markedly in recent years, with its own research and development in military hardware and growing professionalism reducing the gap with its United States counterpart", he added.

Mr Li set the growth target - the amount by which the economy is expected to continue expanding - at 6.5%, slightly lower than the 6.9 per cent growth achieved in 2017.

China's future economic growth is not without headwinds.

Major trading partners, including the European Union, have threatened to retaliate against U.S. products they import if Trump goes ahead with the tariffs.

"The increase in China's defense budget is higher than the 7 percent of 2017, but is much lower than double-digit increases that lasted for many years before 2016", the article claims. For more than two decades Chinese presidents have been limited to two five-year terms, said CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy, reporting from Beijing.

Remaining in power beyond 2023 gives him a chance to push through his vision of a rejuvenated China with global clout, a prosperous society and a powerful military.

The projected GDP growth rate for 2018-19 is almost the same as that of previous two years, as China plans to prioritise the growth quality over pace.

President Donald Trump has already announced steep new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports to address what he calls "very stupid" trade deals, and has threatened further measures targeting Chinese imports specifically. Last October's CCP Congress took the unusual step of directly including a reference to Xi's "thought"-the nationalist aim of making China a great power-in the constitution".

Local governments have used special bonds to help pay for highways, railroads and other construction projects in recent years, and the securities are created to be covered by returns of the projects rather than general revenues.

Of particular note was the government's announcement that it's now targeting a budget deficit of 2.6 per cent of GDP, significantly below forecasts of 2.9 per cent and down from a target of 3 per cent at the same time previous year. Moreover, the PMI for the services sector, often touted as a key economic driver, declined by 0.6 points to 53.8. He stressed that major advances had been recorded in developing military technology and equipment with the help of greater civilian-military industrial integration.

"What we actively uphold is the worldwide order with the purposes, in what we believe has roles that contribute to the economy and aspirations when it comes to the reform of global governance system". Yet Xi has gone in the opposite direction, arguing that China's centralized system provides an alternative model for countries to get rich without embracing Western democracy.

"Bolder moves of opening-up means fresh opportunities for the rest of the world as the Chinese market is big and keeps generating new demand", said Wang Ruijun, an NPC deputy from south China's Guangdong Province, the frontier of the country's reform and opening-up drive.