China says its 'moderate' defence spending rises are no threat

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Liu called for a collaborative instead of confrontational approach in dealing with trade frictions, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Sunday.

Zhang defended the steady increase in China's defence budget saying: "The country's national defence we believe it needs to develop in step with its economy and serve country's security and development interests".

Zhang also accompanied Jiang on a visit to the United States in late 1997 and was in charge of coordination when Bill Clinton visited Beijing the following year, according to Guangzhou newspaper The Time Weekly.

The government may target a budget deficit of 3 percent of GDP or slightly lower in 2018 under a pro-active fiscal policy, while keeping a tight grip on money supply in line with a "prudent and neutral" monetary policy, policy sources said.

In 2010, after two years as China's top envoy in the UN, Zhang was named Chinese ambassador to the US.

China is doing away with the practice of providing an annual estimate of defence spending ahead of the national budget that will be presented on Monday.

The goal was kept unchanged even though the economy grew 6.9 per cent a year ago, exceeding the government's target, suggesting that Beijing is keeping its focus on reducing risks to the financial system from a rapid build-up in debt. "A large part is to make up for past short falls to upgrade the equipment, improve the welfare of the men and women and living conditions at the grassroots levels", he said.

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Coach James Beattie, who worked for him in all three of his former managerial roles, also joins him at St Andrew's. There was, as yet, no official confirmation from Birmingham that Cotterill had left the club.

China's "lack of transparency about its growing military capabilities and strategic decision-making continue to cause concern among countries in the region", the Pentagon wrote in its report on the country's military previous year.

"It is extremely alarming for Australia and many other countries in the region", said Sam Roggeveen, Visiting Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University in Canberra.

"China proceeds from a defense policy that is defensive in nature".

Thousands of Chinese delegates will begin meeting in Beijing on Monday for the annual session of country's top legislature, which will stretch for 16 days this year. India opposes the route of the project, which goes through the Kashmir claimed by it but controlled by Pakistan.

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently consolidated power.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister raised our deep concern at the president's forthcoming announcement on steel and aluminium tariffs, noting that multilateral action was the only way to resolve the problem of global overcapacity in all parties' interests".

"It is natural for the initiative to face challenges in its early stage", he said, adding that China welcomes all parties to work together to pursue shared benefits through dialogue and collaboration.