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FM: Japan military 'gossiping' hides issue
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-09 06:05

Japan should explain its own military tendencies to the world before gossiping about other nations' national defence expenditure, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday.

Referring to Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso's remarks about China's military budget, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said it was Japan's recent moves that should cause serious concern among the international community.

Aso said in a speech in Tokyo on Wednesday that China needs to embrace political transparency and be more open about its military budget to ensure its rising economic and diplomatic power is not seen as a threat in Asia.

"China has repeated that its military budget is open and transparent," Qin said. "A white paper on national defence published last December clearly mapped out the military expenditure last year."

He added China adopts a defensive national defence policy. "I feel Japan should interpret its military tendencies to the world."

Japan's Liberal Democratic Party has been pushing for the post-World War II pacifist constitution reform to begin by calling government troops the Japanese Military instead of the Self Defence Force.

The constitution drafted by US occupation forces and unchanged since 1947 bars the use of military force in settling international disputes and prohibits maintaining armed forces for warfare.

Meantime, Japanese troops have taken an increasingly high-profile role in recent years, prompting some critics to accuse Tokyo of moving away from its post-war pacifism.

Earlier in 2001, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pushed through special legislation to let the navy provide logistical support to forces in Afghanistan for the US "war on terror."

Analysts say such efforts are chipping away at the pacifist society Japan has built since World War II.

China on Sunday delayed the annual summit meeting with Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), usually held on the sidelines of a conference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, scheduled for December 12-14 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"We hope the Japanese Government could take actions to remove the political barriers that thwart the diplomatic relations with its Asian neighbours including China and ROK," Qin said.

Speaking of China's role in the second phase of the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, which is being discussed at the 11th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal to be concluded today, Qin said China is ready to play a positive role in this regard within a multilateral framework.

"China chooses to develop its economy in a sustainable way, paying great attention to the harmony between man and nature and environment," Qin said.

The UN summit on climate change going on in Montreal was billed as the next step in advancing the controversial Kyoto Protocol to limit production of greenhouse gases.

(China Daily 12/09/2005 page2)

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