Tuesday, October 18, 2005

China military spending larger than reported: Rumsfeld
Last Updated Tue, 18 Oct 2005 08:49:36 EDT
CBC News
China is failing to report its growing military might and the amount of money it spends on defence, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday.

Rumsfeld made the comments to reporters during a flight to Beijing, where he's scheduled to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Cao Gangchuan.

It's Rumsfeld's first visit to Beijing since he became U.S. President George W. Bush's top defence official in 2001. Bush will visit China in November.

"I think it's interesting that other countries wonder why they would be increasing their defence effort at the pace they are and yet not acknowledging it," said Rumsfeld. "That is as interesting as the fact that it's increasing at the pace it is."

Last summer, a Pentagon report suggested China is spending three times the amount it's reporting on its defence. Another report to Congress in July said China is generating military capabilities "that go beyond a Taiwan scenario."

China wants the self-governing island to reunite with the mainland and passed legislation in March authorizing military action against Taiwan if it declares independence.

Rumsfeld will also visit China's missile headquarters in the Beijing suburb of Qinghe, but was denied access to the country's military command centre in Western Hills. It's believed no foreigner has ever been inside the massive underground facility.

"It tells something about them," said Rumsfeld of China's decision to deny his request. Washington says a number of Chinese delegations have visited the Pentagon.

Rumsfeld said he didn't visit earlier because of lingering tensions over the April 2001 crash of Chinese and American military planes. China detained the U.S. crew of 24 for 11 days and refused to repair the plane, shipping it back to the U.S. in pieces.

Rumsfeld will also visit South Korea during his Asian visit to discuss the role of American troops on the Korean Peninsula.