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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Taiwan warns on China military
Chinese soldiers on parade
China is spending heavily to modernise its army
Taiwan has warned that China is stepping up its military spending and "losing patience" over reunifying the two rivals peacefully.

The Taiwanese Defence Ministry's bi-annual report said China's defence spending was rising quickly and that by 2005 it could have 600 missiles targeting the island, enough to significantly alter the balance of power.


(China) is bound to impose much more verbal attacks and sabre rattling at Taiwan

Taiwan's Defence Ministry
The report is the third in a week to raise concerns about China's military ambitions.

China has angrily denounced the other two - produced by the Pentagon and US Congress - as "groundless and harmful".

The Taiwanese report said that in contrast to China, the island's annual defence spending of $7.9bn had hardly changed since 1993.

Officially, China's annual military spending is said to be $20bn but the Pentagon report said China's actual spending could be as much as $65bn.

A Chinese embassy spokesman in Washington has challenged the Pentagon report, accusing elements in the US Government of trying to undermine US-China relations.

"The threat to Sino-US relations, the threat to world peace, doesn't lie in China but rather in these people who fabricated this China threat," Xie Feng told a news conference.

Taiwan issue

China regards the island of Taiwan as a renegade province and has threatened to retake it using force if Taiwanese politicians declare formal independence.

The two sides regularly exchange angry words and accusations, though behind the scenes there has also been progress at ironing out more practical disputes, for example over transport links and investment.

Mr Xie also called on the US to "stop selling sophisticated arms to Taiwan, stop any official contacts with Taiwan, stop sending the wrong signals to Taiwan".

Mr Xie said both reports created "disturbances" and undermined the improvement of US-China relations.

He said Washington should not criticise other countries' military spending, given the Pentagon's massive budget.

Under the current proposed 2003 budget, US military spending is to exceed $390bn.

See also:

13 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
13 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
11 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
30 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
25 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
06 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
20 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
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