China-ASEAN Monitor


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Photo Credit: Reuters

Economy, Investment and Trade

China cuts growth targets
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced in an address to the National People’s Congress, that the growth target for China this year has been cut to around 6.5 percent, down from 6.5 to 7 percent last year. In 2016, the Chinese economy recorded its lowest growth rate in 26 years at 6.7 percent. The country is also set to go through reforms to address the buildup of debt and to hedge against financial risks. This includes addressing the problem of “zombie enterprises”, a term loosely used to describe inefficient firms with surplus capacity.
Source: The BBC (5 March 2017)
Source: Reuters (6 March 2017)
 

China continues to increase annual defence budget
A spokesperson for the National People’s Congress, China’s Parliament, has said that the country’s defence budget will increase by 7 percent over last year’s US$147 billion. This is the second year running where the increase in the defence budget has been reduced to a single digit. However, Li Mingjiang, a regional security expert, at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, notes that this is still a substantial amount due to the high base of the budget.
Source: The Straits Times (5 March 2017)

Cambodia asks China to provide funds for infrastructure project
Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, has asked China to help the country build bridges across the Mekong River in the capital Phnom Penh. The bridges are part of a larger ring road project which is aimed at reducing traffic. Hun Sen did not disclose the amount he hoped China would contribute or the cost of the bridges. China is currently funding other infrastructure renovations to alleviate traffic in Cambodia.
Source: Cambodia Daily (7 March 2017)

 

Foreign Affairs

China calls for ceasefire at Myanmar border
China has raised concerns over the unrest at the China-Myanmar border. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, urged the relevant authorities to implement an immediate ceasefire. China has been taking in those who have fled from the violence in Northern Myanmar on humanitarian grounds. The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) said that it had launched the attacks in the North because Myanmar Army General, Mya Tun Oo, made comments forbidding them from joining an upcoming peace conference while the army has deployed many troops in MNDAA-controlled areas.
Source: Reuters (7 March 2017)
Source: The Irrawady (7 March 2017)

Chinese President keen to move cooperation with Cambodian forward
During the Cambodian King’s visit to China, President Xi Jinping said that the two countries should push their cooperation forward on major projects. He also emphasised that high-level exchanges should continue and leaders should connect the two countries’ development strategies. Xi Jinping added that China is willing to make joint efforts for greater bilateral achievements which would benefit the population of both countries. He also spoke of the need for multilateral coordination in the effort to maintain regional peace and cooperation between China and ASEAN.
Source: China Daily (7 March 2017)