- China Holds Its “Two Sessions” | China started its National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and National People’s Congress at the weekend. The annual meetings review the government’s work in the past year and outline a plan for this year. During the meetings, China set a GDP growth target of around 5% for this year and released a plan for its State Council reform, centering on reconstructing technology and financial regulatory departments. China also plans to increase its defense expenditure by 7.2% in 2023, allocating $224 billion from the national budget to military spending. Such a figure is still much less than the $858 billion U.S. defense budget in 2023.
- Qin Gang’s First News Conference | Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang held his first press conference since taking office this Tuesday. Qin warned that China and the U.S. are headed towards “conflict and confrontation” if the U.S. does not change its actions. In response, Washington stated that it wants to have fair and constructive competition with China rather than conflict. Observers say Qin’s first press conference is a success by delivering visions for world peace and a clear statement of China's foreign policy.
- U.S. White House Backs Bill To Block TikTok Nationwide | U.S. senators introduced legislation to give the federal government power to restrict and ban foreign-based technologies like TikTok that could pose “threats” to its national security. The White House endorsed the bill and urged Congress to act quickly. China responded that such practice goes against market economy and fair competition by using national security to politicize technology issues. Experts note that the U.S. should put TikTok under strict periodic reviews rather than ban it.
Read the full report here.