Lawmakers clashed with security within the Hong Kong Legislative Council on May 18, after the opposition protested in an attempt to prevent the election of a pro-Beijing president of the House Committee.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country will strengthen its armed forces and improve its preparedness for military combat, state media said Tuesday, amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over the coronavirus outbreak and China's decision to propose legislation that would strengthen control over Hong Kong.
Xi spoke on the sidelines of the National People's Congress of China, an annual political event in which legislation passed by the Communist Party of China is stamped. China announced over the weekend that it plans to increase its military budget by 6.6% in 2020 to about $ 178 billion, a figure slightly lower than predicted by military analysts before the coronavirus pandemic.
The United States has the largest defense budget in the world – $ 738 billion forecast for 2020, representing almost 40% of total global military spending, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a global security think tank based in Sweden. The United States maintains hundreds of military bases worldwide, from Germany to South Korea. China has only one, in the Republic of Djibouti, in East Africa.
President Donald Trump accuses China of misleading the United States and other countries about what and when he knew about the origins of the coronavirus. Trump threatened China with a "strong" reaction – possibly sanctions – over Beijing's plan to adopt a national security law for Hong Kong that critics said it will compromise the partial legal and financial independence of China's semi-autonomous territory.
Beijing contested suggestions that it was not transparent about its information about the coronavirus. Hong Kong's pro-China leader Carrie Law said Tuesday that the national security legislation proposed by the Chinese legislator will not threaten the territory's civil rights, despite widespread criticism of the measure as a violation of freedom of expression and assembly. Lam said "there is no need to worry" about the measure being considered by the National People's Congress of China ceremonial.
"It has come to our attention that some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage and bringing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday, rejecting the Trump administration claims. that Beijing hindered international efforts to determine the roots of the virus.
Xi did not provide further details about his plans for China's armed forces. He talked about the need to maintain "effective control of the epidemic (coronavirus) regularly". The Chinese leader did not mention the seemingly stalled American-Chinese trade deal.
Japanese journalists reported this month that Beijing is planning large-scale military exercises in the South China Sea this summer – exercises that are likely to raise concerns in Taiwan, which claim part of that maritime area as their own, although China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province. which will eventually be part of the country again.
The Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington think tank, warned in an analysis on May 21 that "the risk of a military confrontation in the South China Sea involving the United States and China could increase significantly in the next eighteen months, especially if their relationship continues to deteriorate as a result of ongoing trade frictions and recriminations about the new coronavirus pandemic ".
On a China strategy paper released last week by the White House, the Trump administration has said that the Communist Party of China is trying to "narrow the scope of economic and political reform in China", an action that is forcing Washington to make a "clear-eyed assessment" of intentions Beijing and tolerate "greater bilateral friction".
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