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Military Exercises and Political Trust
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In an interview with China Central Television a defense official said the country's growing military strength wasn't a threat as it was seeking to improve political trust with foreign forces through exchanges and joint military exercises.

"China holds a defensive policy," said Qian Lihua, deputy director of the ministry's Foreign Affairs Office. "We'll never take part in any military bloc and never station any military forces overseas."  

He cited Sino-US joint military exercises in November, the first in the history of the two countries, as displaying proof that there was a lack of evidence for US accusations of a lack of transparency in China's military.

China had received 23 US military delegations and sent 18 to the US this year, Qian said.
It had also opened to US delegations some exclusive military zones including the headquarters of the East China Sea fleet of the Navy Force of the People's Liberation Army.
"It's baseless and unreasonable to say China's military is not transparent enough," Qian said. He pointed out that any country, including the most developed, was not totally transparent on military issues in order to protect security interests.

As well as the US military exercises had also been conducted with Britain, France, Pakistan, India, Australia and Thailand explained Qian. "The purpose is to enhance mutual understanding and build mutual political trust," he added. 

(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2006)

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