|Originally published by The Wall Street Journal, 30 Oct 2010
By RACHEL PANNETT
CANBERRA—Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd will use his visit to China beginning Sunday to press for greater military transparency in the region, even as he seeks to soothe tensions with his country’s biggest trading partner.
“One of the matters which I think is in the region’s common interest in the future is for us to have greater regional transparency of military budgeting, greater transparency of military exercising, greater transparency of military maneuvers,” said Mr. Rudd, Australia’s former prime minister, in an interview ahead of his first official visit to China since being named foreign minister in September.
A report by Australia’s Defense Department this week warned that sustained investment by China to bulk up its defense capabilities is shifting the balance of military power in Asia. The department estimated Beijing spent more than US$150 billion last year on its military, more than double the official Chinese figure. The report also said that in disputed territories such as the South China Sea and waters close to Japan, China is patrolling with “increased frequency and greater strength.”