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China Defends Military Budget


China says its military policies are completely transparent. The declaration came in response to a statement by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressing concern about Beijing's military buildup.

China's foreign ministry said Thursday that Beijing regularly releases information about its military, including details on defense spending.

Rice said the United States wants to know what the growth of China's military means. China says it spends around 30 billion dollars a year on defense. The Pentagon, however, estimates that China's military budget may be as much as three times that amount.

And she urged China to accept the responsibilities that come with its increasing global influence.

Rice spoke at a news conference in Sydney after meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

He also commented on China-U.S. relations, saying Australia has never been concerned that Washington is pursuing a policy of containment toward Beijing.

Rice is scheduled to hold three days of talks on global and regional security issues, with China's economic rise high on the agenda. She is also scheduled to meet with Japan's foreign minister later this week.

The secretary of state's eight-day trip began in South America Saturday. She finished a two-day visit to Indonesia Wednesday.

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