Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
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China Ready for War With 10% Boost in Military Spending for 2018

China Ready for War With 10% Boost in Military Spending for 2018

Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), revealed the move at a press conference prior to the yearly meeting.

China's defense budget is the world's second largest, behind the United States.

Steady and appropriate growth of defense spending is necessary because the Chinese armed forces have been modernizing to keep up with the country's development, said Major General Chen Zhou, research fellow at the Academy of Military Sciences affiliated with the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

But it opted for a significantly higher increase in defence spending at 8.1% over last year's defence budget, reflecting Beijing's rising military ambitions.

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

PLA also announced previous year that it would reduce its grounds troops to less than a million as part of Chinese military modernisation under which the navy has been given greater role to expand China s global influence.

"The country has seen its maritime interests being increasingly infringed upon in recent years, and thus seeking a stronger military is natural for it to safeguard its interests and counter any threat that may materialise from the aggressive posturing of others upset by its rise".

However, China does not provide a breakdown of how it allocates its defense budget, leading neighbors and other military powers to complain that Beijing's lack of transparency is adding to regional tension.

Mr Li also set this year's economic growth target at around 6.5 percent, which would be among the world's strongest if achieved, but way below the double digits during the peak years of China's economic rise.

"China should take worldwide concerns seriously, increase its defense budget's transparency and give up its targeted military deployment towards Taiwan in order to avoid an escalation of regional tension", it said.

The National People's Congress (NPC) is also expected to remove the two-term presidential limit, enabling Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely. In 2016, it grew by 7.6 percent.

"There is every indication that China wants to expand what it will call defence capabilities in the South China Sea".

Last month, regulators seized control of one of China's biggest insurers, privately owned Anbang Insurance Group, amid concern about whether its debt burden was manageable. Officials say China needs continuity as Beijing carries out long-range changes including making state industry more competitive and productive and developing profitable high-tech industry.

China also seeks to deflect concerns about the growth of military spending by insisting that much of the new funding is necessary to "make up for the low military spending in the past" and is meant to "improve the welfare of servicemen and women", as a spokesman for the National People's Congress put it on Sunday.

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