As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take
his post, the Chinese Ministry of Defense calls on him to improve military
relations. China also releases a 2008 military budget that indicates an 18
percent increase in spending.
Defense ministry spokesman Hu Changming
is calling on incoming President Obama to "remove obstacles to exchanges"
between the two countries, including a halt of weapons sales to
Hu spoke to reporters, Tuesday, during the release of a military
policy paper "China's National Defense in 2008."
Hu says China hopes to
build a stronger military relationship with the United States.
forces for independence in Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang as top security concerns
for China, as well as the global economic crisis.
The paper did not
announce new spending figures for China's 2.3 million-person armed forces. The
$59 billion military budget from 2008 represented an 18 percent increase from
China's foreign ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, reiterated that
China opposes American sale of weapons to Taiwan. She told reporters Tuesday
afternoon that China feels the United States must abide by three joint
communiqués - particularly the principles of the communique to stop sale of
weapons to Taiwan.
Defense sales to Taiwan have been a source of
contention between the United States and China since the countries established
relations, 30 years ago. Just last October, China suspended senior-level visits
and exchanges after the United States refused to cancel a $6.5 billion arms sale
to Taiwan, including Patriot missiles and helicopters