China increases military budget and pegs GDP growth at 6.5%

Boosting the military budget, curbing “systemic risks” in the economy and targeting gdp growth at 6.5 percent were the key policies announced as the curtain went up for the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

On Monday, Premier Li Keqiang told the Chinese parliament’s opening session that the 2018 defense budget would rise to 1.11 trillion yuan (US$175 billion), an 8 percent jump compared to last year.

As China rolls out new military hardware, such as stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and anti-satellite missiles, spending has dramatically increased in the past few years.

“We can expect that China’s defense budget to continue to be subordinated to, and coordinated with, China’s economic performance,” James Char, a military expert at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, told the AFP news agency. “It will likely not be over-militarized.

“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.

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