Washington, DC -- House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement on the Annual Report to Congress on the Military Power of the People’s Republic of China:

 “I appreciate the timely release of the 2008 report on China’s military power.  I am concerned by some of the continuing trends and ambiguities regarding China’s military modernization, including China’s missile buildup across from Taiwan and the steady increase of China’s power projection capabilities.  There are also signs that China’s military budget will continue a trend of double-digit increases, and questions remain about China’s strategic intentions.

 “However, other signs may be more encouraging.  China recently agreed to begin submitting an annual report to the United Nations on its military expenditures, which would be a positive step toward increasing transparency with regard to China’s defense spending. Also, China’s growing focus on professional military education suggests the U.S. should be pursuing possible opportunities for increased U.S.-China engagement in this area.

 “In addition, I am encouraged by last week’s agreement regarding the U.S.-China defense hotline, and I am pleased that the U.S. and China have formalized research in Chinese archives on Korean War POW/MIA matters.  These are both positive developments in the U.S.-China relationship.”