01/03/2007, 00.00
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China not competing with the United States in arms and energy

Beijing says it seeks cooperation with Washington claiming shared interests and problems, but it expects a gradual end of US support to Taiwan.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China claims that it is neither capable nor wants to rival the United States on issues such as military spending or energy consumption. However, it does expect the United States to progressively disengage itself from Taiwan.

China’s defence policy is designed to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity and favour world peace, this according to state news agency Xinhua quoting a government official. China’s defence expenditures as a proportion of its gross domestic product is low compared with some other countries. And China has no intention, nor ability to conduct an arms race with other countries, but wants to enhance regional security through cooperation with others.

In terms of energy, China shares many interests and problems with the United States with whom it wants to cooperate.

In the last few days, there has been a lot of talk about China’s defence spending which has doubled in ten years.

In response Chinese authorities have released a white paper indicating that its military expenditures are low compared to other countries in relation to their respective gross domestic product (GNP). Officially, China’s defence spending in 2005 represented 1.35 per cent of its GDP compared to 6.2 per cent for the United States. However, many Western experts such as those from London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies claim that Beijing’s actual defence expenditures are much higher than officially reported.

In meeting a delegation from the Armed Services Committee of the US House of Representatives, Chinese Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan said that China shares extensive strategic interests with the United States and does not want to get into an arms race.

Similarly, since China is a big energy consumer and producer, both China and the United States face similar challenges and share common interests.

But the Chinese warned the US delegation, led by US congressmen Roscoe Bartlett, that the United States should stick to its stated policy on Taiwan and not send the “wrong signals” to independence-minded politicians on Taiwan.

Beijing claims that the United States is committed to gradually reducing its arms sales to Taiwan.

Beijing considers Taiwan part of China even though the island has been a separate entity since the end of the civil war in 1949 and claims its independence. (PB)

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