China maintains economic growth target of 6.5% for 2018
China has set its economic growth target at six-and-a-half percent for the second consecutive year.
The announcement was made at the beginning of the so-called 'two sessions' meetings, Beijing's annual parliamentary gathering.
To talk us through it further, we have on the line Kwon Jang-ho at the foreign ministry.
Jang-ho, can you give us some more details?
Good afternoon, Mark.
As you mentioned, Beijing has decided to maintain its economic growth target, at around six-point-five percent.
That's despite the country's economy exceeding expectations last year by hitting 6-point-NINE percent growth.
The conservative target is seen as a signal that the government is trying to rein in the nation's spending, reduce debt and improve overall financial stability.
This was further emphasized by Beijing also lowering its budget deficit target to two-point-six percent of GDP, down from three percent in the past two years.
However, Beijing continued its drive to expand its military, announcing an increase of its defense spending by more than eight percent, up from last year's seven percent.
An increase in military spending, but overall a cautious economic forecast as China looks to become a more stable financial power. The 'two-sessions' are set to continue for another ten days or so. Jang-ho what else can we expect from the meetings?
The most controversial news to come out of Beijing in recent weeks has been the announcement that China will scrap its two-term presidential limit, clearing the way for Xi Jinping to stay in office beyond 2023.
That decision is expected to be ratified in the next few days.
The integration of the president's political philosophy, known simply as 'Xi Jinping Thought', into the nation's constitution is also expected to be rubber stamped.
This essentially elevates him to the same level as the modern China's first communist leader, Mao Zedong, and although it has caused alarm in some circles, the 'two sessions' is not where those objections will be raised, as it's a largely ceremonial gathering of parliament.
New policies concerning anti-corruption and the environment, two areas that Xi has strongly emphasized, are also expected to be introduced.
I'll be back in later newscasts if we hear any further updates.