China cites support for ending presidential term limits

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US President Donald Trump has proposed a military budget that is the largest since 2011 and focused on beefing up the United States' nuclear defences and countering the growing strength of China and Russian Federation.

Widely-read Chinese tabloid the Global Times said if China really wants to expand militarily, the defense budget should really be rising 20 to 30 percent. This is very different from the kind of double digit growth we saw from 10 years ago.

Li said China opposes protectionism and supports the settlement of trade disputes through negotiation, but will "resolutely safeguard" its legitimate rights and interest.

Liu He, a senior Chinese official, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year that China "has to advance reform and open up at a faster pace" to accomplish its development goals.

But US military officials claim "hundreds" of surface-to-air missiles, airbases and naval ports have been built on seven artificial islands in the disputed area by Beijing.

China's defence spending as a share of GDP and the budget also remains lower than that of other major nations, he said.

Li told the 3,000 or so delegates to the National People's Congress that China had already made significant progress in rebalancing its economy, taming financial risks, reducing poverty and curbing pollution over the past five years, but more needed to be done to realise President Xi Jinping's goals.

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"China is facing a rapidly aging population".

In a almost two-hour speech to the legislature, Premier Li Keqiang did not mention the scrapping of term limits but emphasized the primacy of Xi and the ruling Communist Party he leads in all aspects of Chinese life. I think it's great. China's defense budget is the second-largest in the world, but even with "off book" expenditures, it is a fraction of the United States' budget in excess of $700 billion. The US total is about nine times that of Russian Federation, who have the third biggest military budget.

The proposal, part of Trump's budget request for the US government, would provide the Pentagon $617-billion and an additional $69-billion to fund ongoing wars in fiscal year 2019. In 2016, it was 7.6 percent.

Wang Qishan 王岐山, the 69-year-old close ally of Xi Jinping who unexpectedly obeyed retirement norms last fall (a head fake, in effect, for Xi setting himself up to do the opposite this year), was featured heavily on state television during the Work Report. There's a slight increase. But it's a quarter of what the U.S. defense budget. "It is increasingly clear that China and Russian Federation want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model - gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions". That is $74-billion more than in the previous fiscal year's budget.

That is a far more optimistic spin on China's aggressive policies than most of its neighbors would offer. During the military conflict, the Chinese military reportedly employed a tactic known as "the human sea attack" to swamp enemy strongholds with massive amount of soldiers, which led to heavy casualties of Chinese forces.

Xi said that by representing Inner Mongolia as a deputy from the region, he demonstrated the great attention that the CPC Central Committee pays to ethnic minority and border region affairs and the CPC Central Committee's firm resolve to reduce poverty. Part of it has been to make up for past investment deficiencies, mostly on renewing equipment and improving material benefits for soldiers.

Can China avoid sliding back into strongman politics as Xi Jinping reshapes charter in his own image?

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