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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Says Russia Aiding China's Army

APDefense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
WASHINGTON -- China is gaining important new military capabilities from Russia and other countries, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, arguing that a European arms embargo against the Chinese should be kept in place.

Some members of the European Union, including France, have sought an end to the embargo, which was imposed after the Chinese military crushed student protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

A new U.S. assessment of China's military power "clearly points up the reason that the president and the United States government have been urging the EU to not lift the arms embargo on the People's Republic of China," Rumsfeld told reporters Tuesday.

The Pentagon assessment, which was released hours later, said Chinese military planners were looking at expanding beyond their immediate goal of dominating Taiwan, the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing as its own territory. It said that in the long term, an increasingly modern Chinese military could pose a threat to U.S. and other forces.

China's military spending already is the world's third-highest, at $50 billion to $70 billion a year, behind only the United States and Russia, the 45-page annual report said.

Beijing is modernizing its arsenal with the addition of fighter jets, submarines, missiles and other high-tech weapons -- many of them bought from Russia -- to back up its frequent threats to attack Taiwan.

China's short-term goal remains deterring Taiwan from pursuing formal independence and eventually uniting the island with the mainland, the report said.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing insisted Wednesday that his country is no danger to others.

China is intent on "developing in a peaceful way," Li told reporters.

"Not only is China not a threat to anyone, but we would also like to make friends with people in every country, work together and develop mutually beneficial cooperation in order to facilitate everyone's progress," he said.

n Rumsfeld plans to visit Kyrgyzstan next week, the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry said Wednesday, amid calls to set a withdrawal date for U.S. military forces in former Soviet Central Asia.

Acting Defense Minister Ismail Isakov will meet with Rumsfeld during the Monday and Tuesday visit, a Defense Ministry statement said. It did not specify what issues would be discussed.

Earlier this month, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional alliance that is led by Russia and China and includes Kyrgyzstan, called for a date to be set for the withdrawal of forces of the U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition, which have been based in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan since 2001.

The U.S. Embassy declined comment on the Defense Ministry's announcement.