China build-up has put military balance in region at risk: Rumsfeld

Agence France Presse

Singapore, June 4:

Issues warnings on N Korea’s nuke development.

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today warned that China is spending considerably more on a major military buildup than officially acknowledged and asked why it had so many missiles aimed at Taiwan. A Pentagon study due to be released later this month concludes that China’s defence budget is now the largest in Asia and third largest in the world, he said. “Since no nation threatens China, one wonders: why this growing investment? Rumsfeld asked. “Why these continuing large weapons purchases?”

Rumsfeld delivered the warning, one of the bluntest yet by a senior US official, to an audience

of Asian defence ministers and military experts gathered here for an annual international security conference. The head of the Chinese delegation, foreign ministry official Cui Tiankai, asked Rumsfeld: “Do you truly believe that China is under no threat whatsoever from any part of the world? And do you truly believe that the United States felt threatened by the so-called emergence of China?” Rumsfeld said he knew of no country that threatened China, and added: “The answer is, no, we don’t feel threatened by the emergence of China.” Singapore’s

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in an opening speech late yesterday, cautioned that “a strategy of confronting China will incur its enmity without seriously blocking its growth, while any attempt to contain China will have few takers in the region”.

A senior US defence official traveling with the secretary said the annual report on Chinese military power, which is due to go to Congress later this month, attempts to quantify it for the first time. In his speech, Rumsfeld also reiterated US concerns about North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. “Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions threaten the security and stability of the region, and indeed the world,” he said. He said China could persuade North Korea to return to the six party talks. “China’s emergence is an important new reality of this era — one that the countries of the region would no doubt like to embrace,” he said.

Al-Jazeera ‘promoting’ terror

SINGAPORE: US Secretary of Defence Donald H Rumsfeld said on Saturday that the television network Al-Jazeera was promoting terrorism by airing beheadings and other attacks. “If anyone here lived in the Middle East and watched a network like Al-Jazeera, even if you were an American you would begin to believe that America was bad,” Rumsfeld said. “The people that are going on television, chopping off people’s heads is what’s wrong with the world. And television networks that carry it and promote it and are Johnny-on-the-spot every time there’s a terrorist act are promoting it.”— AP