China sets 2018 GDP target at 'around 6.5%'

The annual session of the National People's Congress opened on Monday amid a major shift in Chinese politics.

Years of double-digit percentage growth have given China the world's second-largest defence budget after the United States, which is in a class of its own with a proposed budget of $716 billion for next year.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang addresses delegates during the opening session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 5, 2018.

"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 US counterpart", Char 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.

Reinforcing views that Beijing's attention remains firmly fixed on credit risks and better quality growth, when Li unveiled the GDP target he omitted previous wording saying growth could be "higher if possible". Last week, President Trump announced plans to impose tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports, a move some experts fear could lead to a global trade war.

Li said the target would enable China to achieve "relatively full employment".

China also refuted criticism that its multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was a geo-strategic tool to spread its influence and said such a characterisation was a "misinterpretation".

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Much of China's energies have been focused on what is known as anti-access/area denial, or A2/AD operations that seek to scare the U.S. Navy and other forces far from China's shores.

China beat forecasts in 2017 as the world's second grew by 6.9 per cent, picking up steam for the first time since 2010 despite a battle against massive debt and polluting factories. "The budget deficit is expected to amount to 2.6 percent of GDP, or 2.38 trillion yuans [$380 billion] remaining at the same level as in 2017", the draft budget revealed.

China also set its consumer inflation goal at "around 3 percent", in line with a year ago, as widely expected.

The Chinese authorities also intend to unlock gradually the national market of bank cards' clearing as well as securities and funds management.

China's government pledged Monday to deliver robust growth, pursue advanced technology and boost military spending while urging the public to embrace President Xi Jinping's rule as its ceremonial legislature prepared for changes to allow him to stay in power indefinitely.

China suspects Tsai wants to push for formal independence, which would cross a red line for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, though Tsai has said she wants to maintain the status quo and is committed to ensuring peace.

Key Xi ally, former top graft buster Wang Qishan, sat on the same row as Standing Committee members on the front stage of the Great Hall, despite having stepped down from the elite seven-man body which runs China in October.

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