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05 March 2018, 12:47 | Tara Lloyd
Top Asian News 8:00 am GMT
Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, who is the National People's Congress spokesman, sidestepped a question at the legislature's opening news conference about whether Xi would stay on "forever". His comments were made ahead of the release of the country's defense spending budget, which is expected to take place on Monday.
"China does not want a trade war with the United States, but if it takes actions to hurt China's interests, China will not sit by idly and will take necessary measures", Zhang Yesui, a spokesperson for China's National People's Congress, said in a press conference.
A state-owned defense company is developing the country's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
China past year increased the defence budget to $150.5 billion, three times higher than India's latest defence budget of about $52.5 billion.
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During the gathering, which wraps up around mid-March, the proposal is widely expected to become China's new reality. And other images, words, and expressions that might be used to criticize Xi are also censored .
"In recent years, China has moderately raised defence investment", he told a news conference.
"China has always upheld the path of peaceful development, and practices a defensive defence policy. China's development will not pose a threat to other countries", Zhang said.
A large part of the growth of China's defence budget is to make up for the low military spending in the past and is mainly used to upgrade equipment and improve the welfare of servicemen and women and the living and training condition of troops.
However, many countries including India suspect that China has geostrategic designs behind the project, which Beijing calls purely an economic one.
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Trade tensions between the world's two largest economies have risen since Trump took office in 2017, and although China only accounts for a small fraction of USA steel imports, its massive industry expansion has helped produce a global glut of steel that has driven down prices.
The proposal, part of Trump's budget request for the USA government, would provide the Pentagon $617 billion and an additional $69 billion to fund ongoing wars in fiscal year 2019.
The defence budget of the USA which is the highest in the world amounted to $602.8 billion.
The Chinese Ministry of Finance a year ago said the defense budget would top 1 trillion yuan (US$145 billion) after the exact figure was initially kept out of documents released at the start of the annual legislative sessions.
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With worries about potential disputes with the United States over the South China Sea and the status of self-ruled Taiwan, China's military had mounted what defence sources and diplomats viewed as a lobbying campaign for more spending.
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