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China's military secrecy damages trust: U.S. official

2010/06/18 19:06:27

Washington, June 17 (CNA) China's lack of military transparencyand its suspension of military-to-military exchanges with the UnitedStates will only make it less trustworthy to other countries, asenior U.S. defense official said Thursday.

Addressing a seminar dubbed "2010 Asia Policy Assembly, " MichaelSchiffer, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, saidthe international community remains in the dark about China's actualmilitary expenditure, the structure of its armed forces and its rulesof engagement.

Although major countries around the world have repeatedly urgedChina to enhance military transparency, Schiffer said, China hasfailed to respond to the call effectively.

With its military spending increasing rapidly, China needs toassure the U.S. and its neighboring countries that its militaryforces will be used in a way conducive to regional development,Schiffer said.

Regrettably, he said, China suspended its military-to-militaryexchanges with the U.S. in January, a move that will not only impactmutual trust between the two countries but will also make it harderfor China to win trust from its major neighbors.

If China is willing to resume military cooperation with the U.S.,Schiffer said the U.S. government will not hesitate to fulfillPresident Barack Obama's promise to Chinese President Hu Jintao thatthe two countries establish a positive and cooperative relationshipinvolving mutual engagement.

(By Zep Hu and Sofia Wu)