China's defense policy 'ensures national security'

08:30, April 28, 2011      

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The development of weapons and equipment is to ensure national security and is not directed against any other country or specific target, a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

The international community should regard weapons tests and equipment upgrades as part of the modernization of the armed forces that is being carried out as technology advances, Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said.

Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng hosts the ministry's first-ever regular press conference in Beijing, April 26, 2011. (Xinhua Photo)

Geng's comments came in response to questions on the second test-flight of the J-20 stealth fighter jet during the Defense Ministry's news conference in Beijing.

He reiterated that China pursues a defense policy which is defensive in nature.

Geng said it is normal for China to develop and upgrade weaponry and equipment in tandem with advancing technology, in line with other countries.

He added that it is also common international practice to test new weapons and equipment as they undergo development.

The news conference, held on Wednesday afternoon at the Defense Ministry's Foreign Affairs Office, was the first in what will be regular briefings to be held on the last week of each month.

The spokesman also confirmed that Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, will visit the United States from May 15 to 22, amid the resumption of high-level military exchanges between the two countries.

During his visit at the invitation of Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chen will hold talks with Mullen and meet US political and military leaders, as well as visit command centers and other sites, Geng said.

Chen's visit, the first in seven years by an officer of his rank, is part of efforts to implement the consensus reached by President Hu Jintao and his US counterpart Barack Obama. It will play an important role in promoting military ties between the two countries, Geng said.

"Key to this is that the two sides should respect and take care of each other's core interests and concerns, and at the same time properly deal with divergences and sensitive issues," Geng said.

China in January 2010 postponed bilateral military programs and security talks in response to the US government approving shipments of advanced weapons to Taiwan.

Relations were later resumed with talks between lower-ranking officials, followed by meetings on maritime safety and protocol.

Geng said that the two militaries maintain effective communication and dialogue through defense talks, consultations on maritime safety and other channels.

"We hope the US can help create a good atmosphere for the healthy and stable development of bilateral military-to-military relations," he said.

Major General Luo Yuan, a military researcher at the Academy of Military Sciences, said bilateral military ties are the most sensitive part in Sino-US relations.

Referring to the Defense Ministry's regular news conferences, Luo said it is an important step and reflects the military's sincerity regarding transparency.

The news conferences will allow the public to see the development of national defense and will help build up greater trust between China and other countries, Luo said.

The ministry introduced the system of using spokespersons in May 2008 after the 8.0-magnitude Wenchuan earthquake and has held eight news conferences since. The last time the ministry opened its floor to media questions was on March 30, when it released information on the defense white paper.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

Source: Xinhua
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