China discusses military budget while warning of escalating threats
China claims it will increase its military spending by more that 7% this year while warning of “escalating threats”.
It was made public at the National People’s Congress, a rubber-stamp legislature that is expected to confirm President Xi Jinping’s 3rd term.
The Chinese military budget, estimated at $225bn (PS186bn), is dwarfed only by the four-fold greater one of the United States.
Analysts believe that China is reducing the amount it spends on defense.
China’s defense budget has increased by approximately 10% per year over the past decade. 2014 saw the largest increase at 12.2%.
According to the government work report of Outgoing Premier Li Keqiang, “external attempts at suppressing and containing China are escalating”.
The report stated that “The Armed Forces should intensify military preparation and training across the board.”
At the meeting, it was also announced that China would reduce its economic growth target to 5% for this year.
The Two Sessions are an annual event.
This year’s sessions will be especially important because delegates will likely to reform several key state and Communist Party institutions.
The NPC meeting this week will also formalize Mr Xi’s leadership of China, as he will be elected president and head of the armed force.
In October 2013, he was re-elected by the Communist Party to his post as their leader.
As Mr. Xi struggles to navigate worsening ties between the US and China over the Ukraine war, as well as the recent spy balloon saga scandal, while he embraces Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader.
US officials have warned repeatedly that China could invade Taiwan within the next few years. China has been increasing its military presence in the air, seas and oceans surrounding Taiwan, including the firing missiles.
China views Taiwan, which is self-ruled, as a province that can be taken under Beijing’s control.
The NPC will also announce the new premier, China’s equivalent to a prime minister. This person traditionally oversees both the economic and administrative aspects.
Li Qiang is one of Mr Xi’s most trusted associates and will likely assume the role.
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China’s two sessions: The basics
The Two Sessions in Beijing, which are held every year at the China legislature’s top political advisory body, attract thousands of people from all over the country to attend.
The National People’s Congress, which is the country’s equivalent to a parliament, is theoretically the most powerful state organ. It is, in reality, a rubber stamp body for the ruling Chinese Communist Party and passes key laws on decisions already made.
Although the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference has no legislative power, its members come from many sectors of society. It is worth noting their discussions for emerging economic and social issues