Mon, Sep 03, 2007 - Page 5 News List

China says military will make spending more transparent

UN REGISTER A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Beijing would resume providing the world body with basic data on its arms sales

AP , BEIJING

China will take steps to increase the transparency of its military operations, reporting expenditures to the UN and resuming updates about its arms sales, an official said yesterday.

The US, Japan and others have questioned the pace and amount of China's defense spending.

Beijing will give the secretary-general of the UN "basic data of its military expenditures for the latest fiscal year," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu (姜瑜) said in a statement that was posted yesterday on the ministry's Web site.

"This is a significant step on the part of China in further enhancing its military transparency," she said.

LEAKS TO TAIWAN

China had stopped providing data for the UN Register of Conventional Arms -- which details imports and exports of seven categories of conventional arms -- in 1996, after a "certain country"' gave the register details about its arms sales to Taiwan, Jiang said in the statement. The country was not named.

China will resume giving data on its deals because the country has stopped providing information on Taiwan, Jiang said.

The Foreign Ministry statement said China would provide information starting this year, but did not give a specific date.

China is also a major arms exporter to Sudan, and has faced criticism from human-rights activists who have said the weapons have been used in attacks in the violence-wracked Darfur region.

ARMS DEALS DEFENDED

Jiang defended China's arms deals, saying the government has "all along taken a prudent and responsible attitude in its arms export and implemented strict controls on such exports."

China says spending for its People's Liberation Army grew 17.8 percent this year to about 350.92 billion yuan (US$44.94 billion). It was the largest annual increase in more than a decade.

The Pentagon estimates China's actual defense spending may be much higher, because the official budget does not include money for high-priced weapons systems and some other items.

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