US report on China's military "not in line with countries’ interests": Defense Ministry

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/17 22:08:40

PLA’s new capabilities help safeguard peace

The Chinese Ministry of National Defense on Friday expressed strong opposition to the Pentagon's annual report on China's military and security developments and lodged solemn representations with the US side.

The report harms the mutual trust between China and the US and is not in line with the two countries' interests. "We call on the US to abandon its Cold War mentality, regard China's defense and military construction in an objective and rational way. We also request that the US stops releasing the related reports and safeguards the stable development of the two countries' military with real actions," the ministry said in a statement.

The report is another move by the US to hype the perceived China threat that only serves to cater to anti-China sentiments, raise US military spending and contain China's rising influence around the globe, Chinese experts said on Friday.

China's military has expanded its bomber operations in recent years while "likely training for strikes" against the US and its allies, according to the "Annual Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China" released by the US Department of Defense on Thursday.

The report comes at a time of escalating trade frictions between China and the US and highlights China's efforts to increase its global influence. It estimates that China's defense spending exceeded $190 billion in 2017.

China's defense spending in 2017 was 1.02 trillion yuan ($148 billion), according to previous report.

"Over the last three years, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against US and allied targets," the report says.

The report also claims that China is pursuing nuclear capability of its long-range bombers, saying the Chinese air force "has been re-assigned a nuclear mission."

Chinese experts refuted the report's asserting the normal development of the Chinese military is a move that targets the US and it is full of Cold War mentality.

"It aims to treat China as an imaginary enemy and creates a confrontation between China and the US. Actually, China's defense policies are defensive in nature," Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the Global Times.

Zhang noted that if a country has no intention to invade China, it will not feel uneasy about China's expansion of maritime defense operations.

Echoing Zhang, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations, said the report still tries to spread the country's "China threat" theory.

"It aims to promote anti-China sentiment in the US. As the US policies toward China are different from the previous [administration's], the defense report adds fuel to the fire," Li told the Global Times on Friday. I

t is not surprising to see the US defense department exaggerate the China threat in its reports. The department's purpose is to win more military funding from the US congress, Li noted.

"For a long time, we only had ground-based weapons. The naval weapons have been developed in recent years. However, we have been lagging far behind on air strike weapons as we have no long-range bombers. The development of the three kinds of weapons shows progress in China's military modernization," Zhang Jiadong, director of Fudan University's Center of South Asian Studies in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Friday.

"Developing nuclear capable weapons does not aim to attack others but to protect the country from invasion," Zhang noted. 

"As US elites have been focusing on the country's advantages in military power and technology development, they are very sensitive about the possibility of China leading the field," Li said.

The report also says while China advocates peaceful reunification with the island of Taiwan, China has never repudiated the use of military force, and continues to deploy advanced military capabilities needed for a potential military campaign.

"Military and nuclear power are the keys to maintaining stability between China and the US. China has the power to reunify the island of Taiwan by force and it is also crucial for safeguarding peace in the Taiwan Straits," Zhang said.

Zhang stressed that "there is no alternative choice on the Taiwan question, but only one solution: reunification. Whether we will resort to military force depends on the island's actions."

Newspaper headline: US report overstates China’s military threat


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