>> A highly choreographed political parade in China overshadowed by a bid to lift term limits for Beijing’s leader. China opened its annual session of parliament on Monday first with a warning to Taiwan to steer clear of quote, separatist schemes. Then a goal to grow the economy by around 6.5%.
Over two weeks China lays out its priorities at the National People's Congress. It's largely a routine exercise in legislation. But as Reuter's Michael Martina explains, this year's meeting is dominated by one big issue, President Xi Jinping.>> So all eyes at this year's National People's Congress here in China are on efforts to remove term limits for China's president and vice president.
Now, that effectively could mean that China's president, Xi Jinping, could serve indefinitely as president beyond his second term, which he's currently in. Now when they announced that they would move ahead on these amendments at the Congress, it created some unease within China. And China's government made significant efforts to crack down on social media any discussion about the issue.
From what we see so far, delegates at the congress, they seem to be voicing full support for that measure to go forward.>> That's no understatement. Outside the event, the proposal to lift term limits met with gushing praise from delegates.>>
> If a good leader comes into power, we should let him remain in that leadership position forever.
This way there's continuity, it's great.>> Beijing also kicked off events by revealing its largest rise in defence spending in three years at just over 8%, which analysts say may spark more worries across Asia over China's military ambitions.>> Its total budget, which is about $175 billion, is still just about a quarter of what the US spends on defense.
That said, experts and even diplomats, they say that they believe actual defense spending in China could be almost double that.>> On Sunday, a Beijing spokesman said lifting presidential term limits is about protecting the authority of the Communist party. When a reported asked whether it would mean Xi would stay in office for life, he appeared to duck the question.