China’s Defense Minister: China would continue to enhance its military capabilities; The Defence Ministry describes Chinese defence budget as reasonable and at appropriate level; The UN praises Chinese contribution to its peace-keeping missions;
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  • On the eve of the 83rd anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) on August 1, 2010, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie reiterated that China’s armed forces would continue to augment their capabilities and military readiness to safeguard sovereignty, security and development of the nation. He specified that China would continue to build up PLA's capability to carry out diversified military tasks, particularly for winning regional wars under informationized circumstances.1

    The China’s Defense Ministry spokesperson Geng Yansheng has maintained that China’s defense expenditure has always been reasonable and at appropriate level. He claimed that China’s annual defense expenditure has been around 1.4 percent of its GDP in recent years while the share of some major world powers is between 2 and 4 percent.2

    UN peacekeeping Chief Alain Le Roy has said that the UN was extremely pleased with Chinese participation in the UN peacekeeping operation. He made these remarks at a reception programme which was held to commemorate the 83rd anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). Incidentally, this year also marked the 20 years of China's participation in UN peacekeeping operations. China has participated in 18 UN peacekeeping operations, and contributed a total of 15,000 peacekeepers in last two decades. So far, nine Chinese peacekeepers have lost their lives in these operations. At present also, around 2,000 Chinese troopers are participating in nine of the 15 UN peacekeeping operations.3

    The Chinese Defence Ministry has made it clear that the mainland China is ready to discuss and establish military security and mutual trust mechanism across the Taiwan Strait in order to maintain stability in the region, but this discussion will take place “at a proper time” only.4

    China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said on Friday that China did not support unilateral sanctions levied on Iran by the European Union (EU). She said that China hope that the relevant parties would adhere to diplomatic means on the issue. China is of the view that the Iran nuclear issue should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations.5

    Last week Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi was on a tour to Latin America. Speaking at a joint press conference with his Mexican counterpart Patricia Espinoza on July 30, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that he disagreed with the theory that world power was shifting from West to East. On the contrary, the world was witnessing a trend that various forces were moving toward a relative balance of power, Yang added.6 It was noted in media reports that during this Latin American tour, China explored new opportunities of mutual cooperation in that part of the world. Reports noted Venezuela and China held talks on ten new agreements involving cooperation in energy, mining, food and gas sectors on Thursday. It was also reported that China had agreed to back Venezuela’s 17 development projects by providing $4 billion in credit loans via the China Development Bank (CDB). Since May 2010, the two countries have been discussing a host series of non-oil projects in Venezuela, which will be financed by the China Development Bank (CDB) with a credit of $20 billion. Incidentally, Venezuela is China's fifth-largest trading partner in Latin America, and the two countries have set up a bilateral investment fund of $12 billion to finance their economic and manufacturing development.7 In addition, China and Mexico also agreed on Friday to boost bilateral cooperation in economy, trade, investment and tourism.8

    The Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman has informed that more than 1,000 army and air force officers and soldiers from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) will take part in an anti-terror exercise, code-named “Peace Mission 2000” and seventh of its kind under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in Kazakhstan this autumn.9

    In other developments, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has conducted a large scale of live-ammunition training exercise in the South China Sea on July 26th. In this exercise, a large group of warships, submarines and combat aircraft was brought together.10 On the other hand, the artillery troops under the Nanjing Military Area Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) carried out a massive actual-troop and live-shell exercise near the Yellow Sea also. In this exercise, the PLA for the first time conducted fire strike exercise with the long-range rocket launcher.11