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China's Military Buildup A Concern, Not A Threat: Rice

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) meets with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Beijing, 10 July 2005. Rice is on a two day visit to Beijing on a tour of four East Asian capitals primarily to discuss ways to push ahead with negotiations on North Korean nuclear issues. AFP Photo/Pool/Adrian Bradshaw.
Beijing (AFP) Jul 10, 2005
The United States is concerned about China's "significant" military buildup, but that does not mean it sees Beijing as a threat, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday.

"There is no doubt that we have concerns about the size and pace of the Chinese military buildup and it's not just the Pentagon. I've made clear to people this is a view held by the US government," Rice told reporters.

"This does not mean that we view China as 'a threat'," she said after meeting with Chinese officials on the first leg of a four-nation Asia tour.

"We just take note of the fact that there is a significant military buildup going on, ... that we have concerns about the military balance and of course that the United States continues to modernize its own forces so that we can continue to be a force for stability and peace in this region."

Rice said she raised the issue of the impact of China's military buildup on the regional military balance during meetings with Chinese leaders.

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned earlier this year that China was spending considerably more on its military than officially acknowledged and asked why it had so many missiles aimed at Taiwan. The United States is bound by US law to help defend Taiwan.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory awaiting reunification and has threatened to retake it by force if it moves towards formal independence. The island has ruled itself since splitting from the mainland after a civil war in

Taiwan's defense ministry says China has deployed at least 700 ballistic missiles along its southeastern coast just opposite the island, and the number could rise to 800 before the end of 2006.

All rights reserved. � 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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