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China’s draft budget out: Defence expenditure, unemployment, US and Hong Kong main highlights

Beijing: A draft budget prepared by China’s Finance Ministry emphasised the defence budget, rising rate of unemployment in the country, its diplomatic and economic ties with the United States and foreign interference in Hong Kong and Macao as the matter of utmost importance.

China will increase its military expenditure in 2021 by 6.8 percent, the draft budget prepared by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for the 4th session of the 13th National People’s Congress said on Friday.

“1.355343 trillion yuan [$209 billion will be spent] on national defense, up 6.8 per cent,” it said.

Last year, China raised its defense spending by 6.6 percent.

China is also set to boost military training and preparedness, as well as develop plans to respond to security risks in all areas, the governmental report said.

“We will boost military training and preparedness across the board, make overall plans for responding to security risks in all areas and for all situations, and enhance the military’s strategic capacity to protect the sovereignty, security, and development interests of our country. We will improve the layout of defense-related science, technology, and industry, and enhance the defense mobilization system,” it read.

Meanwhile, the urban unemployment rate in China has been predicted to amount to around 5.5 percent in 2021 by the government, the report said adding that it is the main projected targets for development this year are.

It further emphasised strengthening its ties with the United States. “We will promote the growth of mutually beneficial China-US business relations on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”

In the same report, China said it would resolutely guard the country against and deter foreign interference in the affairs of Hong Kong and Macao.

“We will resolutely guard against and deter external forces’ interference in the affairs of Hong Kong and Macao. We will support both regions as they grow their economies and improve people’s lives, so as to maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao,” the draft budget added.

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