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House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 17 September 2008

Armed Forces: Training

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether his
Department includes military training in its definition of military co-operation
in the context of the Madrid Declaration of 1989; [223532]
(2) on what date he was first informed of proposals for members of the Chinese
People’s Liberation Army to attend Sandhurst; [223533]
(3) what recent discussions he has had with representatives of (a) the UK’s
Permanent Representation to the European Union and (b) the European Commission
on military co-operation with China and the Madrid Declaration 1989; [223534]
(4) when his Department first arranged for students from the People’s Liberation
Army of China to attend Sandhurst. [223535]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 15 September 2008]: The MOD’s bilateral
programme with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is entirely consistent with
the Government’s policy of seeking to influence, through positive engagement,
China’s emergence as a responsible global player and with key allies’ policies.
Any military training offered is limited in scale and content so that it will
not affect the regional strategic balance or enhance the People’s Liberation
Army’s capability for internal repression. We keep the use the People’s
Liberation Army makes of MOD-provided training under review and these limited
engagements will stop if there is firm evidence that any skills or knowledge we
provide have been misused. The planning for a Chinese officer cadet to attend Sandhurst began in 2006 as part of the MOD’s overall defence relations and security co-operation programme.

China was offered the opportunity to send a cadet to Sandhurst on 13 April 2007
and the officer attended Sandhurst between 9 September 2007 and 8 August 2008. Because the cadet’s attendance at Sandhurst was consistent with the
pan-Whitehall China strategy, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State was
not made aware of this individual serial in a much wider programme, which was endorsed by officials. However, we have never sought to conceal such engagements. Indeed, I refer to the answers I gave to the right hon. Member for
Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague) on 29 February 2008, Official Report, columns
2016-20W, and the hon. Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell) on 6 May 2008, Official Report, column 840W, which listed foreign students who have attended
the Academy since 1997, including the one from China. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has not had any recent discussions with representatives of the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representation to the European Union or the European Commission about military co-operation with China and the Madrid Declaration 1989.

Military Police: Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when the Royal
Military Police first (a) reported to his Department concerns that Land Rovers
were deficient vehicles for operational duty and (b) requested replacement
armoured vehicles; [223170]
(2) when the Royal Military Police first submitted an urgent operational
requirement for armoured replacements for Land Rovers. [223171]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 10 September 2008]: Records indicate that the
possibility of Royal Military Police units being equipped with better protected
vehicles, when required to deploy in advanced positions in operational theatres,
was raised in both 1999 and 2003. We have no record of any earlier suggestions
of this kind. A large number of improvements have been introduced to the vehicle fleet in recent years, with the result that commanders now have a greater choice of better protected, more capable vehicles than at any time previously. Royal
Military Police personnel have benefited from these improvements as have
personnel from all arms and services. There ar

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