His comments came as the Chinese Parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), began its two week long annual session on Monday with a legislative agenda which included ratifying a constitutional amendment removing the two-term rule for the president and vice president.
"We will be bolder in reform and opening up", said Li in a nationally televised speech to almost 3,000 delegates to the ceremonial legislature in the Great Hall of the People. The changes would allow Xi, already China's most powerful leader in decades, to extend his rule over the world's second-largest economy possibly for life.
In review, Li said that the country's GDP and proportion of the global GDP continued to expand during the five-year period, from RMB 54 trillion and 11.4 percent, to RMB 82.7 trillion and 15 percent, respectively.
"Our aim is to help people feel more satisfied, happier and more secure", said Mr Li. More restrained spending by the government "is one reason we have been expecting growth to slow this year", the analysts said.
Premier Li also said China will keep its prudent monetary policy neutral, reaffirming authorities' position.
"China does not want to fight a trade war with the United States, but we absolutely will not sit by and watch as China's interests are damaged", Mr Zhang, who is a spokesman for parliament and was formerly an ambassador to the USA, said.
State Council research office director Huang Shouhong, who was in charge of drafting the government work report, said part of the defence budget would be used to retrain and compensate the laid-off military personnel. "Xi needs more time to find and train the right successors", he said.
She said she hopes for new concrete policies including more investment in environmental protection. Under the Obama administration, the White House and Pentagon agreed to pursue a "Pivot to Asia", which sought to challenge China's growth by increasing American diplomatic, trade and military relations with key countries in South and Southeast Asia.
Li also set an economic growth target of 6.5 percent along with 800 billion yuan (US$127 billion) in tax cuts.More news: Trump Says He's the Only Star We Have Left
The figure released in a report on Monday to the ceremonial National People's Congress is an increase in the growth rate from a year ago, when finance ministry officials said the budget was rising 7 per cent to 1 trillion yuan (NZ$209 billion).
"China has not had any wars in the past 30 years", he said.
The National Development and Reform Commission, the state planner, said separately that outstanding total social financing (TSF) and M2 will grow at a similar pace this year as in 2017.
Yesterday, speaking to the lawmakers, who are widely expected to approve the change in a vote next Sunday, Wang Chen, secretary general of the NPC justified the move.
"Overall both monetary and fiscal policy will be tighter than previous year, because the government wants to control financial leverage and overall debt levels".
"When it comes to the revision of the constitution, how could it be that there is not a significant public commenting process, that there is not a more deliberative review process?" said Dali Yang, a China expert at the University of Chicago. If passed, the amendment would allow President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely.
In the government's 2018 budget report, defense spending saw its biggest increase in three years.
The 69-year-old was at the forefront of Xi Jinping's campaign against corruption, before stepping down as a Politburo Standing Committee member last autumn. But, when dealing in foreign affairs, it helps to have a presidential hat as well.