Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

China sets GDP growth target of 6.5 percent for 2018

China warns to 'take necessary measures' if US starts trade war China's 'two sessions': Economics, environment and Xi's power
Andrew Cummings | 10 March, 2018, 00:58

Given China's economic fundamentals and capacity for job creation, GDP growth of around 6.5pc will enable China to achieve relatively full employment, according to the report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang Monday morning at the first session of the 13th National People's Congress, China's top legislature.

On Monday, Premier Li Keqiang told the Chinese parliament's opening session that the 2018 defense budget would rise to 1.11 trillion yuan (US$175 billion), an 8% jump compared to past year. China has carried out reform and opening up for 40 years, during which the Chinese economy has grown rapidly, laying a solid material foundation for consolidating national defense and strengthening the military.

The increased spending has sparked fears in Taiwan that an increasingly hard-line government under Xi could step up military pressure on the democratic island, which has never been ruled by the Communist Party.

"That lack of transparency is most troubling", he said. In the country's vast rural backwaters, however, Xi seems to enjoy more support among the less privileged thanks to his popular war on graft and poverty. "People shouldn't be left guessing as to what exactly the objective of these increases is".

China's military planners have also taken note of the US shift this year in its threat analysis from terrorism to rivals Russian Federation and China, said Yue Gang, a retired colonel and military analyst.

China has planned to up its military spending by 8.1% in 2018 in an effort to modernize its armed forces.

Swift also called on China to clarify its intentions in the South China Sea.

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The government set an economic growth target of around 6.5 per cent for 2018, in line with expectations but lower than the 6.9pc GDP increase in 2017.

While China is aiming for a narrower official deficit, leaders still plan to expand the issuance of special goal bonds, which are sold by local governments to finance items that aren't included in the general public budget and not counted in the deficit ratio released annually. All he would say is that countries have to make their own choices when it comes to adjusting military spending and that they based theirs on the economy and their defensive needs.

In a further display of sophistication, China said in early February that it had successfully tested a mid-course anti-missile defense system, deploying similar technology to that used to destroy a defunct Chinese satellite in 2007.

Asked whether China's propaganda drive risked creating a Mao-style personality cult around Xi, Song Fengnian, an elderly delegate wearing a golden Mao Zedong lapel pin on his chest, said it was "a definite good thing".

Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Natixis in Hong Kong, cites calculations showing China's revenues as a percentage of output clearly declining since 2015.

China decried the US strategic posture as "Cold War mentality".

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