China adheres to the path of peaceful development and is "an important force
in the maintenance of peace and stability in the world and the region", Foreign
Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press briefing yesterday.
He was responding to US Vice-President Dick Cheney's recent criticism of
China's alleged military build-up.
Cheney said during his visit to Sydney last week that "China's recent space
test and continued fast-paced military build-up are less constructive and are
not consistent with China's stated goal of a peaceful rise".
Rejecting Cheney's criticism, Qin said China's constructive role in the
Six-Party Talks to make the Korean Peninsula nuclear free is clear evidence of
China's commitment to world peace.
He reiterated China's stance against weapons of mass destruction and stressed
that the country has been promoting the peaceful use of outer space.
Qin also rejected charges made by Japanese politician Shoichi Nakagawa on
Monday against China's military spending.
Nakagawa, the policy chief of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, went
so far as to say that China's "rising military spending" may cause Japan to fall
under its influence.
"If something were to happen to Taiwan in the next 15 years, then within 20
years, Japan might become just another Chinese province," Nakagawa was quoted as
saying by the Sankei newspaper.
While reiterating that the Taiwan question is China's internal affair, Qin
said China is a big sovereign country with a long borderline and coastline, and
thus its maintenance of a certain military force is "beyond reproach".
Japan's territory and population is only 4 and 10 percent of China's, but it
has maintained a larger military budget, Qin said, adding that China's per
capita military expenditure is only 7 percent of Japan's.
"People have to ask why Japan repeatedly claims the 'China threat' while it
is spending huge sums of money on the military," Qin said.
(China Daily 02/28/2007 page1)