China dismisses Pentagon report, cites commitment to global peace

Updated: 2011-08-27 07:56

By Qin Zhongwei (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China on Friday dismissed an annual Pentagon report assessing the Chinese military and protested the gratuitous accusations over China's space and network security policies and the playing-up of the so-called Chinese mainland's military threat to Taiwan.

"The report does not hold water as it severely distorted the facts China has lodged solemn representations with the US side," the Ministry of National Defense spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement about the report.

China adheres to the path of peaceful development, and its national defense policy is defensive in nature, Yang said.

He said China's defense building "is solely to safeguard its own sovereignty and territorial integrity and ensure smooth economic and social development. (It) does not target any country".

Given the progress in science and technology, it's normal for the Chinese army to develop and renew some weapons and equipment, which is a common practice among countries all over the world, Yang said.

He added that the Chinese army has been actively conducting exchanges and cooperation with foreign armies, increasing its opening-up to the world and is always committed to global peace and regional stability.

The report, submitted to Congress by the Pentagon annually since 2000 pursuant to a US law, has drawn protest from China over its distortion of facts and groundless speculation and is a source of tension between the two countries. This year's report repeated comments about China's lack of transparency on its military development and concerns over its military buildup.

The US' release of the report did not conform with the consensus by the two state leaders on building a cooperative partnership of mutual respect and mutual benefit, the positive momentum of bilateral military ties and the sound development of the cross-Straits relations between Chinese mainland and Taiwan, Yang said.

"China demands that the US side view China's military development in an objective and fair manner and stop publishing the so-called report," he stressed.

Xinhua News Agency on Thursday questioned the report's concerns over the Chinese military being a threat by saying that it is weird that the Pentagon, with an expenditure of nearly $700 billion in 2010 that accounted for more than 40 percent of the world's total, turns a blind eye toward its own spending but routinely points its finger at China, whose military only spends a small fraction of what the US does.

Although this year's assessment contained some positive comments about China's role in the international community, such as its peacekeeping efforts, the main theme of the report has always been focused on playing up the "China Threat" theory, according to Jia Xiudong, an expert on Sino-US relations.

China and the United States resumed military exchanges this year, and there have been frequent bilateral visits between military officials from the two sides. The release of the report will obviously pose a negative tone on relations between the two militaries, Jia said.

Such reports have been "out of the date", and it is time to alter their perception of the Chinese army, said Wang Xinjun, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Military Science.

The US should reposition itself and build a new constructive military relationship with China on the basis of more equality, he suggested.