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Rumsfeld Urges More Transparency from Chinese Military

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

BEIJING, Oct. 20, 2005 – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld urged members of China's Academy of Military Science today to share information that could shed light on its military programs and, hopefully, eliminate concerns by the United States and other nations.

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Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld tours the Summer Palace as the final stop during his three-day visit to Beijing, China. Photo by Donna Miles

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Rumsfeld, at the academy for the last official session during his three-day visit to China's capital city, urged military leaders at the prestigious academy -- the Chinese equivalent to U.S. military war colleges -- to help break the information logjam about its military.

The Academy of Military Science falls under direct control of the Chinese Community Party and conducts research programs in support of the Chinese armed forces.

China's improvements in its strategic strike capability, with its missile forces capable of reaching many areas of the world beyond the Pacific region, "give us questions," the secretary told the group. "As a result, many countries with interests in the region are asking questions about China's intentions."

It's clearly up to the Chinese people and their government to decide on its plans and programs, as well as how much information it wants to share about its intentions, Rumsfeld acknowledged. "But it is also true that greater clarity would generate greater certainty in the region," he said.

Similarly, he said, more information about China's military spending would help clear up uncertainty about China. He noted that DoD's report on China's military power -- something, he explained, Congress requires each year -- suggests that China spends "two to three times" what it says it spends on its military.

"To the extent that defense expenditures are considerably higher than what is published, neighbors understandably wonder what the reason might be for the disparity between reality and public statements," he said.

Rumsfeld emphasized that military modernization "is perfectly appropriate" when it's carried out transparently.

He noted the U.S. military's transformation and changes in how the armed forces are organized, trained, equipped and the kinds of operations they carry out. As the U.S. military changes its global posture to reflect 21st century rather than Cold War-era demands and threats, it's doing so "in a very public way," he said.

The U.S. military anticipates ongoing transformation as it institutes changes Rumsfeld said are vital to defense of the country and support of friends and allies around the world.

Rumsfeld pointed to ongoing cooperation between the United States and China on a variety of areas, including trade, counterterrorism and the Six-Party Talks focused on eliminating North Korea's nuclear programs. "We value our relationship with your country and recognize the challenges and believe that success in our relationship will require both cooperation and candor," he said.

During a short question-and-answer session following Rumsfeld's address, he responded to questions about U.S. military transformation, his support for China's stated interest in peacekeeping and humanitarian activities, and his desire to see more military-to-military activities between the United States and China.

Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita told reporters the Academy of Military Science visit, and the entire visit to China, was "very purposeful" and went a long way in helping "demystify" the relationship between the two country's military leaders.

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Donald H. Rumsfeld

Related Sites:
2005 China Military Power Report
State Department Background Note on China

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDefense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld speaks to members of China's Academy of Military Science during his visit to Beijing, China. Photo by Donna Miles  
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