Japan's defense chief urged China on yesterday to release more information about its military spending and said Tokyo seeks a peaceful resolution to the Taiwan question -- an assertion that has angered Beijing in the past.
While China's military budget has surged more than 10 percent a year for more than a decade, it's not clear if official figures include spending on research, said Yoshinori Ono, head of Japan's Defense Agency.
Japan, along with the US, seek to "encourage China to improve transparency on its military affairs," Ono said at a conference in Singapore.
China has spent billions of dollars in recent years on weapons and technology to modernize its military, citing the need to face down threats from Taiwan among other needs. It has criticized US arm sales to Taiwan and assailed a joint US-Japanese statement earlier this year making the peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question a joint objective.
Ono repeated that statement yesterday, saying Washington and Tokyo "encourage the peaceful solution of the issues concerning the Taiwan Strait through dialogue."
Beijing has repeatedly warned Tokyo not to interfere in its dealings with Taiwan.
Ono also sought to ease concerns over defense guidelines that Tokyo adopted last year: "Our policy is exclusively defense-oriented, and Japan will never become a military power that might pose a threat to foreign countries."