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10 March 2018, 01:00 | Kara Nash
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Li made the statement while delivering a government work report at the opening meeting of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, reports Chinese news portal China News.
Boosting the military budget, curbing "systemic risks" in the economy and targeting GDP growth at 6.5% were the key policies announced as the curtain went up for the National People's Congress in Beijing.
In recent years China has announced how much their military spending budget was increased the day before their legislature opened, this year Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, who is the parliament spokesman, decided not to announce how much spending would be rising.
"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 United States counterpart", he added.
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.
China plans to increase its military spending by 8.1% in 2018 in an effort to modernize its armed forces.
Ma Baozi, from central Henan province, a source of numerous migrant workers who power the country's economy, said of ditching presidential term limits: "It's very good". "The government doesn't publish full and complete figures for stability maintenance spending, which is absolutely huge, across the whole country-more than a trillion yuan (U.S. $157.5 billion)".
Improving the people's well-being, an objective of economic growth, was also given special mention.
Mr Li set new targets, with gross domestic product growth set at around 6.5 per cent - after last year's 6.9 per cent - as the country aims for high-quality growth over the high-speed growth of yesteryear.
"There is every indication that China wants to expand what it will call defense capabilities in the South China Sea".
Xinhua said China actually spent $161.87 billion in national defense previous year, or about 1.3 percent of its gross domestic product.
Xi will be formally elected to his second term as president at China's largely rubber stamp parliament.
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. Its military spending per capita is also lower than other major countries, Zhang said.
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.
"Whether a country poses a threat to other countries doesn't depend on the strength of its military, but on the internal and external policies it exercises", said Chen Zhou.
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