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Sept 3, 2007
China to declare Arms Spending to UN
The Chinese government says it will declare its annual defense spending and arms sales to the United Nations to ease concerns about transparency in its military build-up. However, as Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing, analysts doubt China will declare all defense expenditures.

China's Foreign Ministry says it will begin declaring its "basic" annual defense spending and resume reporting annual arms sales to the United Nations this year.

The Foreign Ministry website on Sunday said the declarations are part of efforts to show China is "further enhancing its military transparency." The statement, however, did not say what information would be declared.

Robert Karniol is a military analyst and long-time observer of China's defense build-up. He says China's known defense spending is in line with its economic development, but its hidden budget is cause for concern.

"In military circles there are two signals that one watches for. And, those are development of capabilities and intent," explained Karniol. "China has been moving forward with the development of capabilities but its intentions remain unclear."

Karniol says that despite the latest announcement, China is not likely to suddenly end its practice of keeping almost all defense matters secret.

China says defense spending went up by almost 18 percent this year to $45 billion, the largest annual increase in more than a decade. But some analysts say real military spending could be several times that amount if China's spending on new weapons systems is included. VOA News Reports

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