China to further modernize military to safeguard sovereignty, security

BEIJING -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday that China will continue to revolutionize and modernize its national defense and armed forces by strengthening maritime and air defense to safeguard the country's sovereignty, security and interest.

"We will continue to deepen reforms in national defense and the armed forces," Li said in his 42-page central government's report during the opening of the Fifth Session of the 12th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People here.

Aside from maritime and air defense, Li said China will also strengthen border control and to properly organize counter-terrorism, safeguarding stability, international peacekeeping and high seas protection efforts.

"We will enhance our capacity for innovation in defense-related science and technology and step up the development of advanced logistics and equipment," he said.

Li said military-civilian integration will also be intensified and strengthen national defense mobilization and readiness of reserve forces.

"We at every level of government should take more solid and vigorous steps to support the reform and development of our national defense and armed forces," the Premier said.

Li reported that the government under President Xi Jingping had achieved major breakthroughs in the reform of national defense and military.

"We made fresh progress and new achievements in our work to make the military more revolutionary, modern and well-structured," he said.

Li said the government's goal this year to continue military modernization is in line with Communist Party of China (CPC)'s objective of strengthening the armed forces in a new era.

"We will boost military training and preparedness, so as to ensure that the sovereignty, security and development interest of China are resolutely and effectively safeguarded," Li said.

"We will uphold the Party's absolute leadership over the armed forces and uphold and implement the system whereby the Chairman of the Central Military Commission assumes overall responsibility over military affairs," he added.

President Xi Jinping is also chairman of the Central Military Commission and secretary general of CPC, the country's ruling political party.

On Saturday, Fu Ying, 12th NPC spokesperson, said in a press conference that China will increase its defense budget by seven percent in 2017 from last year's 954.3 billion Yuan (roughly USD 146 billion).

The military budget of China, the world's second largest economy, is 1.3 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) which grew 6.7 percent year-on-year to 74.41 trillion Yuan, or USD10.83 trillion in 2016.

Li said government eyes around 6.5 percent in 2017, hoping to create additional 11 million new urban jobs or less than three million jobs the country achieved last year. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency