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China: Armed Forces

Volume 481: debated on Thursday 23 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 17 September 2008, Official Report, columns 2250-1W, on armed forces: training, when his Department’s bilateral programme with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army started; what the terms of the programme are; what other activities (a) have taken place and (b) are planned to take place under the programme; how much funding has been allocated for the programme in the next 12 months; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the bilateral programme agreement. (228567)

[holding answer 20 October 2008]: The MOD’s limited bilateral programme with China has been developing on a gradual basis since the then Prime Minister visited China in October 1998. The terms of the programme are: to maintain consistency with HMG policy and international restrictions; to limit the scope of activity; to ensure in-country control through oversight by the UK Defence Attaché, and; to conduct regular policy review. Activities include senior leadership engagement, high-level command and staff training, junior leadership training, low-level military training, exercises (observing), disaster management training, peace support operations training, benefits to the wider military and civil communities and sport. The total amount of funding allocated in support of the programme for financial year 2008-09 is £464.5,000, of which £177,000 comes from the Conflict Prevention Pool. Our complete UK/China bi-lateral programme for FY 2008-09 is subject to continuing discussion, but is expected to comprise a series of high level visits, an annual programming meeting, short term training teams and courses (including English language training) related to Peace Support Operations, a small number of places for Chinese students in defence education establishments, and limited short term exchanges of service personnel.

I am withholding a copy of the bilateral programme agreement as its release would, or would be likely to prejudice international relations.