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China Launches Second Phase of Moon Probing System

Ye Peijian, an acadamic at CAS (Chinese Academy of Science) told the Chinese press that the second phase of China’s moon probing mission had begun. After launching its first lunar probe, named “Chang’e 1,” last year to “orbit” the moon, the second phase planned is a soft landing on the moon’s surface along with an “inspection using probing robots and probing devices," abbreviated as “landing”. According to Ye, the “landing” phase is scheduled to be completed by 2013. Experiments with the use of moonbuggies have also been conducted. The third phase will be a mission to carry out a soft landing on the moon’s surface and then return  the moonbuggy with collected lunar samples, abbreviated as “return”. Ye also anticipates that China will be capable of realizing a manned moon flight between 2020 and 2025.

Source: Xinhua, March 6, 2008
http://news.xinhuanet.com/mil/2008-03/06/content_7727645.htm

Hong Kong Media on 2008 China’s Defense Budget

Double Digit Increase of Military Expenditure Has Continued for 20 years. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily published an article on March 5, 2008 on China’s newly released defense budget. It states that China’s military expenditure has been on the rise with a double digital increase for 20 years in a row. After the 1989 Tiananmen massacre when military forces were used to suppress the Beijing democracy movement, defense expenditure started to take off and hit 355.39 billion yuan last year, about 14 times what it was in 1989.

Apple Daily comments that the 2008 defense budget of 417.7 billion yuan is no surprise in light of last week’s lengthy article in the PLA Daily calling for a significant increase in the defense budget.

Source: Apply Daily, March 5, 2008 reprinted by New Century News. http://www.newcenturynews.com/Article/china/200803/20080305145831.html

PLA: China’s Military Power is no Threat

China maintains a limited military power only to safeguard its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and won’t pose a threat to any country, said Liao Xilong, Director of the General Logistics Department of People’s Liberation Army, according to Xinhua on March 5, 2008. According to Liao, the increased portion of the national defense budget will be used to increase subsidies for soldiers and officers, to provide food, gas, education and training, to improve the living conditions for troops stationed in remote regions, and to upgrade the military equipment of information technology.

Source: Xinhua, March 5, 2008
http://news.xinhuanet.com/misc/2008-03/05/content_7725357.htm

2008 Defense Budget Saw 17.6 Percent Increase From Prior Year

During the press conference at the First Session of the 11th National People’s Congress held on March 4, Jiang Enzhu, spokesperson of the conference disclosed that China’s defense budget for 2008 is 417 billion yuan (US$57.2 billion), a 17.6 percent increase from last year including currency impact. The increases are mainly to cover spending in army benefits, food and fuel consumption, administrative and training costs as well as equipment and weapon.

Source: China Review News, March 4, 2008
http://cn.chinareviewnews.com/doc/1005/8/3/1/100583185.html?coluid=4&kindid=18&docid=100583185&mdate=0304143540

Xinhua: U.S. Report On China’s Military Power Continues “China Threat”

In response to the Annual Report on China’s Military Report of U.S. Defense Department, Xinhua states, "The Annual Report on China’s Military Power submitted by the Pentagon to the Congress, as one of the series of military assessment reports, again criticizes that China’s lack of transparency in military and security matters may lead to misunderstandings and miscalculations, therefore posing a threat to regional stability.”  Xinhua cites a Washington Post’s article on differences between U.S. Defense Department and U.S. intelligence officials.

Source: Xinhua, March 4, 2008
http://news.xinhuanet.com/mil/2008-03/04/content_7713318.htm

Xinhua: Transparency of Chinese Military Increases

China’s military transparency has been increased according to a Hong Kong newspaper, says Xinhua on March 3, 2008. The Hong Kong newspaper article cited the statistics in the December 2007 "World Military Yearbook 2007" published by the PLA Publishing House December 2007.

Xinhua comments, “Some so-called international military experts have focused their attention on China’s military spending, accusing China of military affairs being not transparent with ulterior motives. The releasing of ‘World Military Yearbook 2007’ greatly increases the transparency of China’s military power, and effectively refutes the senseless accusation of these ‘experts.’”

Source: Xinhua, March 3, 2008
http://news.xinhuanet.com/mil/2008-03/03/content_7709045.htm

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