China: September 1, 2003


China continues to quietly improve it's armed forces. Troops levels are to be cut 200,000, to 2.3 million, over the next two years. Meanwhile, the official annual defense budget is now $20 billion. This has more than doubled in the last ten years. But the unofficial military budget is believed to be over $60 billion, as many items of military services and equipment are not covered in the official budget. This is a trick that was developed by the Soviet Union and adopted by other communist countries (as a security measure to hide the exact nature and strength of the armed forces.)


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