Beijing, Jan 7 (ANI): Australia's intelligence agencies are of the opinion that China is hiding a huge military build-up that goes beyond national defence and threatens regional stability, according to secret US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks.
According to The Age, Australia's peak intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments, the Defence Intelligence Organisation, and the Defence and Foreign Affairs departments said that China was building a military capability well beyond its priorities of defence and the prevention of Taiwanese independence.
"China's longer-term agenda is to develop 'comprehensive national power', including a strong military, that is in keeping with its view of itself as a great power," according to a copy of the secret assessment provided by Foreign Affairs officials to the US embassy in Canberra.
A strategic assessment by the agencies also found that China's military spending for 2006 was 90 billion dollars, double the 45 billion budget publicly announced by Beijing.
"We agree that the trend of China's military modernisation is beyond the scope of what would be required for a conflict over Taiwan. Arguably China already poses a credible threat to modern militaries operating in the region and will present an even more formidable challenge as its modernisation continues," the agencies added.
The document further warned that the pace of China's military build-up and "the opacity of Beijing's intentions and programs" were "already altering the balance of power in Asia and could be a destabilising influence".
"There is the potential for possible misconceptions which could lead to a serious miscalculation or crisis," it said. (ANI)