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Foreign investors will have wider access to sectors like telecommunications, medical services, education, elderly care and new energy vehicles, said Li when delivering a government work report to the first session of the 13th National People's Congress.

"If we take a look at the share of China's defense budget in China's GDP or national fiscal spending and in per capita terms, China's defense input is still smaller than most developing countries", he said, according to the Financial Times.

Xu Qiliang, a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, which runs the armed forces and which Xi heads, told military delegates to parliament that China needs to "fully strengthen troop training and war preparedness and raise the ability to win", the official Xinhua News Agency said late Monday.

Amid concerns about a spiralling trade war with the United States, Mr. Li said China's national security environment was undergoing fundamental changes.

While China is aiming for a narrower official deficit, leaders still plan to expand the issuance of special goal bonds, which are sold by local governments to finance items that aren't included in the general public budget and not counted in the deficit ratio released annually.

"China now accounts for 15 percent of the world's economy, an increase from just more than 11 percent five years ago", he said.

The Australian also points out that China's actual military spending could be considerably higher than the figures announced to the public.

"There is every indication that China wants to expand what it will call defence capabilities in the South China Sea".

The CPC-led system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation stresses both the CPC leadership and socialist democracy which features political consultation, participation in the deliberation of state affairs, and democratic supervision, he said. "As a result, I believe China would try to lower the cost of military spending by integrating existing technologies", he said.

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Diplomats say China's defense numbers probably underestimate true military spending for the People's Liberation Army, the world's largest armed forces, which are in the midst of an impressive modernisation program overseen by Xi.

"China's annual defense budget continues to follow a similar trend like the previous two years, when growth held steady around 7 percent".

"The country has seen its maritime interests being increasingly infringed upon in recent years, and thus seeking a stronger military is natural for it to safeguard its interests and counter any threat that may materialize from the aggressive posturing of others upset by its rise".

The United States operates 10 and plans to build two more.

The proposal, part of Trump's budget request for the US government, would provide the Pentagon $617-billion and an additional $69-billion to fund ongoing wars in fiscal year 2019.

Perhaps the most relevant comparison of military budgets is between China and its rival India.

All three fleets are growing "leaner and meaner" due to a greater emphasis on technical sophistication, Erickson wrote, adding that the United States also anticipates facing a Chinese submarine fleet twice its number, though less technologically advanced.

"The projected growth rate reflects China's position of not over-emphasizing speed but stressing improvements in the quality and effect of development, according to another report from the country's top economic planner".