China is 'not a threat to Australia', says ex-Oz defence chief

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Melbourne, May 4 (ANI): Australia's former defence force chief, General Peter Cosgrove has predicted that China is on its way to becoming a superpower, but adds that it will not be a threat to his country.

General Cosgrove's comments follow the release of Australia's first defence white paper in nine years on Saturday.According to The Australian, the 140-page document commits the government to increasing defence funding in real terms by 3.0 per cent per year from its current 22.7 billion dollar annual funding until 2017-18, and then by 2.2 per cent until 2030.

It says China will be Asia's strongest military power "by a considerable margin'' and warns that the pace and scope of China's growth has the potential to give its neighbours cause for concern.

General Cosgrove says the document strikes a balance between concern and reality.

"I think the rise of any nation to true superpower status, and China is sort of on the way there, I think that it's something if you don't note that in a security sense you're mad,'' he told Fairfax Radio on Monday.

"We're not running around declaring China a threat, we're saying it's a factor... That's what I think the white paper seeks to tell us. It will be a different set of strategic factors in 20 or 30 years,'' he added. (ANI)

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