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China no threat: Japanese defense chief
2005-07-25 04:46:50 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TOKYO, Jul 25 (AP) -- Japanese Defense Minister Yoshinori Ono said Monday Tokyo doesn't see China as a threat but increases in its defense budget require "attention," and he urged Beijing to be more transparent.

"I do not see China as a threat," he said. "It is a country that we should have good relations with."

He added, however, Beijing's increasing military budget needs to be watched closely, and said he is also concerned by reports that its reported expenditures are less than half its real outlays.

Ono was speaking at a function with Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, head of the U.S. Forces, Japan.

The Pentagon last week released a report saying China is building up its military for the long-term goal of projecting its power beyond Taiwan. China denounced the report and filed a protest with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said it "has baselessly attacked China's modernization of its national defense."

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