China will increase its defense budget by 6.6% in 2020

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — China’s defense budget, the second largest in the world after the United States, will rise in 2020, despite the economic downturn.

China, the second largest economy in the world after the United States, will increase national defense spending by 6.6% in 2020 to 1.3 trillion yuan ($ 179 billion). This was announced on Friday at the annual session of the All-China Assembly of People’s Representatives (NPC), which was postponed for about two months due to an outbreak of coronavirus.

The rate of increase in military spending – by only 6.6% in RMB – was the lowest since 1991. China’s defense budget in 2019 grew by 7.5%.

China has decided not to set a 2020 economic growth target due to uncertainty about the effects of coronavirus.

“I would like to note that we have not set a specific goal for economic growth this year,” said Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang. “This is due to the fact that our country will encounter some factors whose influence is difficult to predict.”

In particular, he noted “significant uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic and trade environment.”

Last year, the world’s second largest economy grew by 6.1% with a target growth range of 6% to 6.5%.

In the first quarter, GDP decreased by 6.8% compared to the same period last year. This is the first such reduction since China began publishing quarterly GDP data in 1992.

Lee stressed that providing people with jobs will remain a priority for the government, as in the past year. Beijing has set an unemployment target of 6% compared to 5.5% in 2019. The promised number of new jobs – “more than 9 million” – turned out to be less than 11 million planned last year.

The target indicator of the consumer price index was set at about 3.5% against 3% a year earlier.

Speaking at the opening session of the NPC, Lee presented a plan to increase government support for the economy.

China’s budget deficit will increase by 1 trillion yuan ($ 142.86 billion) compared to last year, while the deficit to GDP ratio will be more than 3.6%.

“In addition, government bonds worth 1 trillion yuan will be issued to control COVID-19,” Li said.

Special bonds of local governments will increase by 1.6 trillion yuan compared with last year, the total issue amount to 3.75 trillion yuan.

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