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The Academy of Military Sciences
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Beijing, China, Thursday, October 20, 2005

Good morning.  It is a pleasure to be here.  I thank you for your invitation to share some thoughts about our countries’ evolving militaries, but mostly to listen, to learn, and to respond to questions.

As President Bush has noted, our countries have a complex relationship, but much unites us.  We share the goals of stability, security, and prosperity.

The United States and China are working together in a number of areas, including:

  • Trade;
  • Counter-terrorism;  and
  • The Six-Party Talks to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear programs.

The Six-Party Talks to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear programs.

The United States welcomes the emergence of a peaceful and prosperous China that is a responsible partner in the international system.  We value our countries’ relationship, recognize the challenges, and believe that success in our relationship will require both cooperation and candor.

One area where more information would be helpful would be on China’s military.  For example, China appears to be expanding its missile forces, enabling them to reach many areas of the world, beyond the Pacific region.

Such improvements in China’s strategic strike capability give cause for concern, particularly when we have an incomplete understanding of such developments.

Many countries with interests in the region are asking questions about China’s intentions.

Clearly, it is for the Chinese government to decide on its plans and programs and to also decide the extent to which it wishes to provide clarity about its intentions.  But it is also true that clarity would generate greater certainty in the region.

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.

Of course, military modernization -- when transparent -- can be appropriate.

Indeed, America is working to improve how our forces are organized, trained and equipped.  We are adjusting our global posture to be better able to deter and, as necessary, defend against threats that are unforeseen.

For example:

  • We are basing troops where they are wanted, welcomed, and needed -- to increase our ability to respond to emerging threats and to deter potential adversaries;
  • Operations in cooperation with other nations are becoming the rule, rather than the exception -- because today’s missions increasingly require nations to work seamlessly together;
  • And weapons platforms are increasingly reflecting an emphasis on speed and precision.  No longer does it make sense to equate numbers of troops with real capabilities.

In the United States, we think of military transformation as a continuing process.  Our platforms are flexible, but they will need to become more flexible.  Forces are fast, but they must become faster.

The United States armed forces anticipate a future of transparent transformation -- changes we believe are vital to the defense of our nation and the support of friends and allies.

And I and the people of the United States hope for a future that will be distinguished by still further cooperation with nations that seek peace, including a rising and prosperous China.

I’d be happy to respond to some questions.