Rumsfeld Urges Young Leaders of China to Join Global Economy

元記事 By THOM SHANKER Published: October 19, 2005

BEIJING, Oct. 19 - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld today urged the next generation of China's Communist leadership to become "a major player" in the global economy by taking steps to strengthen the system and not just reap the financial rewards, and he warned against erecting "another type of Great Wall" restricting free expression and choice.

In a speech to mid-career Communist Party officials preparing for senior leadership positions, Mr. Rumsfeld also criticized Beijing's military expansion, saying it had prompted "questions whether China will make the right choices - choices that will serve the world's real interests in regional peace and stability."

Mr. Rumsfeld delivered carefully phrased comments that balanced an invitation to build a political, economic and security partnership with the United States against a complaint that China hides its increases in military spending and has not explained a worrisome arms buildup.

After meeting with Mr. Rumsfeld later today, China's defense minister flatly rejected assessments that China understates its military spending.

The minister, Gen. Cao Gangchuan, said China's goal of raising the standard of living for its people makes it "simply impossible" to increase the funds devoted to the military.

General Cao said his nation's military spending is no more than $30.2 billion at the new exchange rate, contradicting an official Pentagon study released over the summer, which estimated that Beijing spends up to three times that figure on national defense.

For Mr. Rumsfeld, the chance to deliver his message to the Central Party School, which serves as the Communist Party's ideological research institute and as the main training program for cadres slated for senior posts, clearly indicating that he wanted these future leaders to hear a senior American official say that China's future remains undetermined and that the course of this Asian giant is in their hands.

"Every society has to be vigilant against another type of Great Wall that can be a burden on man's talents and is born from a fear of them - a wall that limits speech, information and choices," Mr. Rumsfeld said.

The secretary said history proved that it is impossible to isolate any population forever and that information seeps through. "And when those inside that wall glean insights about the world that they discover are notably different from what they have been taught and led to believe, the effect can prove dramatic," he cautioned.

Beijing still may stumble as it steps up to a larger role in global affairs because of its military expansion, Mr. Rumsfeld said, and "a growth in China's power-projection understandably leads other nations to question China's intentions - and to adjust their behavior in some fashion."

Mr. Rumsfeld described the U.S.-China relationship as "a complex one, with its share of challenges."

But he said that "China, with its rapid economic growth and many new trading partners, is a major player in that multinational system and, as such, must increasingly take a share of responsibility for the international system's health and success." And he added, "Indeed, in an era of increasing globalization, threats such as nuclear proliferation, terrorism and infectious diseases are transnational in nature, and require cooperative efforts."

Mr. Rumsfeld also criticized any move by China within that multinational framework to create regional institutions that exclude other Pacific Rim countries - especially the United States.

But the defense secretary's visit appeared to have joined the American and Chinese leadership in a commitment to improving military-to-military ties that ruptured in April 2001 when a Chinese jet fighter and an American Navy surveillance plane collided in international airspace over the South China Sea.

President Hu Jintao, who was Mr. Rumsfeld's host at a meeting this afternoon, stressed that improving military ties would benefit the broader relationship between the two nations.

President Hu said that these "intense and candid talks" would "help the military forces of our two countries to better enhance their mutual understanding and friendship."

This military relationship, Mr. Hu said, "will also play an important facilitating role in promoting the growth of our relationship as a whole."

Also today, Mr. Rumsfeld became the first American defense secretary to visit the headquarters of China's strategic missile fleet; his was the first and only signature in a large guest book at the rocket headquarters.

The visit to the previously off-limits missile headquarters was viewed by Pentagon officials as an important opening, and as an indication of a willingness by Chinese military officials to engage on some of their most secret national security activities.