FM refutes Rumsfeld's claim on China military
China has rejected as "totally groundless" claims by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that China's defence budget is now the largest in Asia and third largest in the world.
"But the bulk of the increase is for the improvement in living conditions of officers and soldiers. China has not the intention nor the capability to drastically increase its military buildup."
During an international security conference in Singapore on Saturday, Rumsfeld said China was spending too much on its military build-up, risking an unbalanced military situation in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Since no nation threatens China, one wonders: Why this growing investment? Why these continuing large weapons purchases?" Rumsfeld said.
In fact, Liu said, compared with other major countries throughout the world, China's military spending has always been at a low level. "Last year, China's defence expenditure was 211.7 billion yuan (US$25 billion) and US military spending was US$455.9 billion. That is to say US military spending was 17.8 times that of China," the spokesman said.
"Any words or deeds that create and hype up a Chinese military threat are unfavourable to the peace and stability of the region and the world," Liu said, adding that China hoped the United States would respect this and do more that is conducive to the healthy development of Sino-US relations.
Liu yesterday reiterated that reform of the United Nations Security Council should be fully democratic to allow broad consensus.
"It (Security Council reform) relates to the common interests of all UN member states and concerns the vital interests of all sides involved," he said.
Although UN member states have not yet reached consensus on the reform, Germany, Japan, Brazil and India known as Group Four hastily proposed a draft resolution on UN Security Council expansion and are pushing for a vote on it. Such a move "is not conducive to the solidarity of UN members and runs counter to the original intention of UN reform," Liu said. It is reported that Group Four will delay the submission of a draft resolution on UN reform to the General Assembly until at least next month from the initially targeted June.
(China Daily 06/08/2005 page2)