US sees China as challenge in Middle East after IS

By Yin Han Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/1 22:28:40

China's foreign ministry on Thursday called on the US to drop its Cold War mentality after a US general once again cited China and Russia as strategic competitors.

The US must contend with growing competition from Russia and China across the Middle East following the defeat of the Islamic State, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing Joseph Votel, commander of the US Central Command.

Votel warned of China's growing military ambitions in the region, citing a new base in Djibouti, its attempts to expand arms sales to US allies and, like Russia, its efforts to develop "multidimensional" ties with US adversary Iran.

"The US is the world's No.1 military power, and its military expense is the highest in the world, more than that of the second to the seventh country combined. But the US always calls other countries a threat," Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokeswoman, said on Thursday.

Not long ago, a US State Department official even tried to sell advanced weapons such as F-35 fighters to Asian countries, which makes people wonder about the real purpose behind US' "China threat," Hua said.

"The US is the biggest arms dealer in the world. It is ridiculous that it blames China for expanding arms sales since China cannot even get close to the US arms sales volume," Tao Wenzhao, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Votel also mentioned that Moscow's continued military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had allowed his government to claw back areas under opposition control.

The new focus of the US reflects a shift outlined in Trump administration's recent national defense strategy, which seeks to reorient the Pentagon from counterinsurgency wars toward competition with large, sophisticated nations posing a threat to US military primacy, The Washington Post reported.

"China's strategic purpose is quite clear, which is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. The US should abandon its Cold War mentality and take a rational perspective to see China's development," Hua said.

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