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China's defence budget less than major countries'

China's defence budget less than major countries'

China's government said defense spending would rise by 8.1 percent this year, outpacing economic growth and its biggest increase in three years, even as it insists it is no threat to other countries.

TSF grew 12 percent a year ago, in line with the target, but M2 growth slowed to 8.2 percent, below the 12 percent goal.

"We will stick to the Chinese path in strengthening our armed forces, advance all aspects of military training and war preparedness", Premier Li Keqiang said as he read a report to almost 3,000 delegates at the Great Hall of the People.

Premier Li Kequiang said in his opening address that China will "advance all aspects of military training and war preparedness, and firmly and resolvedly safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests".

Its military spending per capita is also lower than other major countries, Zhang said.

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

While maintaining a proactive fiscal policy, Li said China cut its budget deficit target to 2.6 percent of gross domestic product from 3 percent in 2017.

China's economic and financial risks "are generally under control" but more needs to be done to resolve issues such as local government debt, Li said.

Taiwan's China policy-making Mainland Affairs Council said China's moves to raise defence spending and military drills have increased tension.

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"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 U.S. counterpart", Char said.

The goal was kept unchanged even though the economy grew 6.9 percent a year ago, exceeding the government's target, suggesting that Beijing is keeping its focus on reducing risks to the financial system from a rapid build-up in debt.

Stability will be the watchword this year as President Xi Jinping pursues his vision of turning China into a "modestly prosperous" nation by 2020 and into a "strong power" on the world stage by 2050. It also launched a new class of destroyer.

China's navy is also relying on numerical superiority to boost its influence.

The National Development and Reform Commission, the state planner, said in a separate report that outstanding total social financing (TSF) and M2 growth will grow at a similar pace this year as in 2017.

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.

The defence spending figure is closely watched around the world for clues to China's strategic intentions as it develops new military capabilities, including stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and anti-satellite missiles.

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

Economists had already expected the world's second-largest economy to lose some momentum this year as the government deepens its push to contain a build-up in corporate debt, while a war on pollution and a cooling property market weigh on its manufacturers.


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