Beijing (EFE).- China will increase its defense spending by 7.2% this year to 1.55 trillion yuan (224,384 million dollars, 210,685 million euros) after the item grew by 7.1% in 2022, according to a report that will be reviewed in the coming days by the National Popular Assembly (ANP, Legislative), which began its annual session today.
During the inauguration of the annual session of the National People’s Assembly (ANP, Legislative), the outgoing Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, read the government action report, which ensures that China will fight “resolutely” against the “independence” of Taiwan and “for the reunification of the motherland”,
“We have to carry out the strategy of the Communist Party (CCP) on the issue of Taiwan, that is, resolutely fight against its ‘independence’ and for the reunification of the motherland,” Li said during the speech.
Relations between Beijing and Taipei deteriorated last summer after the visit to the island of the then Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, which raised tension in the strait to unprecedented highs in years.
“We will promote a peaceful development of relations on both sides of the Strait in order to promote a process of peaceful reunification. We should promote economic and cultural cooperation between the two sides and perfect policies aimed at improving the well-being of Taiwanese compatriots,” he added.
Everything, according to Li, “in order to promote actions on both sides in favor of the exaltation of Chinese culture.”
According to his report, the CCP has already been waging “a major fight against secession” in Taiwan and against “interference”, in an apparent reference to the United States, a country that Beijing criticizes as interfering in its internal affairs in relation to Taiwan, territory that China claims as its own.
Chinese premier announces “more scientific and effective” response to pandemic
China must ensure that the management of the covid-19 pandemic is “more effective and scientific” from now on, outgoing Prime Minister Li Keqiang said today at the inauguration of the National People’s Congress (ANP, Legislative).
Li’s words represent another step in the dismantling of the strict ‘zero covid’ policy that began last December after almost three years of harsh restrictions.
Li, who warned that the pandemic “has not ended”, pointed out in his work report that the country has entered a “phase of regulated actions” against the disease, which last January went from being classified as a level disease A, the most dangerous, to B, which entails more lax prevention measures.
The prime minister indicated that China “has managed to effectively protect the safety and health of the people”, after the relaxation of the measures last December caused a wave of infections that overwhelmed the health system.
Shortly before the start of the dismantling of the ‘zero covid’ policy, weariness over the restrictions led to protests in some Chinese cities.
“The Chinese people have overcome many difficulties and made sacrifices, which has not been easy at all,” Li said, describing China’s handling of the pandemic as “a great decisive victory.”
Despite the relaxation of the strategy, the conclave that began today and is considered the main annual political event in China is still being held under anti-covid measures.
Those attending the meeting, with the exception of the highest-level leaders, wear masks and the attending reporters had to carry out a PCR test the day before and quarantine in a hotel designated by the organization.
Last month, the leadership of the ruling Communist Party of China (CCP) proclaimed that after “an extraordinary journey”, a “decisive victory” has been achieved since the dismantling of the restrictions in December.
The “zero covid” policy, which had been in force for almost three years, consisted of confinements wherever infections were detected, monitoring of citizen movements, almost total closure of borders, and constant PCR tests on the population.
“China created a miracle in human history,” the leaders of the ruling party declared.
Between December 8 and February 9, the period that covers the withdrawal of the strictest prevention measures and the subsequent wave of infections, 83,150 deaths in hospitals related to covid-19 were registered in China.
China expects its economy to grow “around 5%” this year
China has set an economic growth target of “around 5 percent” for this year, according to the government action report read out today by outgoing Premier Li Keqiang at the opening of the annual session of the National People’s Congress. (ANP, Legislative).
The objective meets the forecasts of analysts and follows the line established last year, between 5 and 5.5%, although finally the second world economy grew by 3% after the harsh restrictions and confinements imposed in the framework of its ‘zero covid’ policy in the face of the worst waves of infections since the start of the pandemic.
“This year, it is essential to prioritize economic stability and seek growth while ensuring stability,” said Li, who recalled that “the foundations of stable growth (still) need to be consolidated.”
The growth target of the consumer price index (CPI) was limited to about 3%, the same rate as that set for 2022, when it finally increased by 2%.
Another of the objectives for this year will be the creation of some 12 million jobs in urban areas -a similar pace to that achieved last year- to keep the official unemployment rate in those areas below 5.5%.