China projects 2023 economic growth at around 5%

China has projected economic growth of around 5 percent for 2023 at the start of the National People's Congress.

The congress opened on Sunday in Beijing with around 3,000 delegates from across the country and led by President Xi Jinping and other officials of the ruling Communist Party.

Premier Li Keqiang, who is to retire at the end of his current term, gave a report on the government's activities.

He announced that economic growth in 2023 is projected to be around 5 percent.

The gross domestic product grew just 3 percent year-on-year in 2022, falling short of Beijing's goal of about 5.5 percent, due to the impact of the zero-COVID policy among other factors.

It is believed that this year's target was set at a level that is relatively easier to achieve.

Li said China's development still faces many difficulties and challenges. He underscored the need to strengthen the foundation for stable economic growth.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has revealed that the defense budget this year will increase by 7.2 percent to about 224 billion dollars.

The increase appears to indicate that China will continue seeking more military capabilities, partly to keep the United States and Taiwan in check.