November 22, 2002

US, Australia not Concerned About China's Military Modernization

Both US Secretary of State ColinPowell and visiting Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on Thursday that their countries are not concerned about China's military modernization.

"We don't have any great concerns about modernization of the Chinese armed forces," Downer said at a joint press conference.

He said that it's inevitable a country with an economy growing at 7 or so percent a year "is going to use a certain amount of that revenue to make sure their armed forces are modern and efficient and effective."

Australia, he added, has not seen any change in China's strategic posture that could cause us any concern.

Powell said United States knows that bulk of wealth "will be used to modernize Chinese military forces."

"That is not in and of itself frightening, as long as it is clear it is a modernization that doesn't reflect any kind of new strategic purpose or represent any sort of a threat to the region," Powell said.

He also said that the United States is "anxious to have more military-to-military exchanges with the Chinese," and that "we have good bilateral relations with the Chinese and we discuss these issues with them."

(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2002)

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