China to address challenges to Sino-US relations

06 March, 2017, 00:57 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • China's DF-16 Missiles

Ms. Fu didn't provide other details on this year's defense expenditure, expected to be included in an overall budget report Sunday, the opening day of an annual meeting of the legislature, known as the National People's Congress.

He said China's diplomatic work would continue to promote high level exchange of visits with foreign affairs counterparts and carry out exchange and cooperation with relevant foreign institutions and worldwide organisations at various levels.

"We will make our skies blue again", he said. "Crossing off the highest 17 per cent could mean adding more pressure on tax revenue while dropping the lowest 6 per cent level could increase the burden and fan complaints rather than having the opposite effect".

China's economy already is growing at its slowest rate in more than a quarter of a century and the latest goal detailed in an address by Li Keqiang to the country's rubber-stamp parliament, is lower than a 6.5-7.0 percent range he set a year ago. He pledged equal treatment for foreign companies, apparently responding to complaints Beijing is trying to squeeze them out of technology and other promising markets.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced Sunday China would grow its defense budget by 7 percent, the smallest military spending increase in seven years, but still ensuring Beijing remains the second-biggest defense spender in the world.

"The moderate adjustment of the target signals a greater focus on the quality and returns of economic growth", Xinhua quoted Zhang Zhao'an, vice-president of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, as saying.

The premier called for attention to the risks of China's surging debt levels, which economists see as a rising threat to growth.

This suggests the sharp fall in commodity prices forecast by some is unlikely to eventuate this year as Beijing wants minimal disruptions ahead of the five-yearly National Party Congress in November.

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"The projected target for this year's growth is realistic", Li said, in a work report he read aloud for more than an hour and a half.

"The factors that could cause instability and uncertainty are visibly increasing", he warned in what appeared to be in part an indirect reference to Trump's shock election. China's military build-up has rattled nerves around the region, particularly because China has taken an increasingly assertive stance in its territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas and over Taiwan, which China claims as its own.

On China's disputes with neighbouring countries, Fu said China advocates dialogue and peaceful solutions in addressing those issues.

China will also cut steel capacity by 50 million tonnes and coal output by more than 150 million tonnes this year, the commission said.

The target is below expectations and indicates authorities will prioritise risk-control over short-term growth. But the target is closely watched as a forecast of economic performance, which has repercussions throughout Asia, where China is the biggest trading partner for all its neighbours.

By the end of 2016, insurance fund investments in the transport sector reached 479.8 billion yuan, 244.5 billion yuan went to the energy sector, while fixed-asset investment by insurance funds reached 480.1 billion yuan, according to data from the Insurance Asset Management Association of China. In the process, China created 13.14 million urban jobs and increased per capita disposable income by 6.3 per cent. But reform advocates complain state companies still control industries from banking to telecoms to energy and benefit from monopolies, low-priced bank loans and other favors.

China will also seek to cut its surplus steel production, which is straining trade relations with the USA and Europe, Li told the national legislature.

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