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Premier Li: China to strengthen maritime and air defense, border controls

China will strengthen its maritime and air defense as well as border controls as part of efforts to safeguard its sovereignty and security, according to Premier Li Keqiang.

The Premier made the announcement at the opening ceremony of the 5th Session of the 12th National People’s Congress, which opened on March 5 at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The country will continue to deepen military reforms, while upholding the absolute leadership of the Communist Party of China over the armed forces, said Premier Li.

It will ensure the organization of important operations related to countering terrorism, safeguarding stability, international peacekeeping and providing escorts on the high seas.

China also will enhance its innovation in defense-related science and technology, and step up development of advanced logistics and equipment, he said, adding that military-civilian integration will be intensified.

During a press conference ahead of the annual session on March 4, Fu Ying, spokesperson for the 12th NPC, announced that China’s defense budget will rise by around 7 percent, the country’s slowest pace since 2010.