Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 16:49 UK

China defence ministry on the web

Chinese soldiers march during a welcome ceremony at the PLA headquarters in Beijing
China has the world's largest standing army, thought to be over 2m strong

The Chinese defence ministry has launched its first official website, pledging to improve understanding of the country's defence policy.

The site carries news and background information, available in both Chinese and English.

It is the latest measure designed to allay foreign concerns over China's military ambitions.

It follows recent increases in China's defence spending, albeit small in comparison to what the US spends.

The new website includes news reports, official photos and videos, along with statistics about the military and in-depth explanations of national defence policies.

A spokesman for China's Ministry of National Defense says the website is: "launched on a trial basis and will let the outside world have a better perception of China's national defence policy".

Officials at the Pentagon, home to the United States Department of Defense, have raised concerns about China's development of missile technologies, citing a 2007 test of a missile that could strike orbiting satellites.

The government in Beijing has increasingly stressed the need for counter-terrorism hardware within its military arsenal.

Last year, China's defence ministry appointed its first ever spokesman, while last month foreign journalists were invited for a rare tour of a People's Liberation Army base.

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