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China hits Pentagon report on its military

CHINA yesterday slammed a Pentagon report on its military power, saying that it could damage military relations between the two countries.

"It is a gross distortion of facts and interference in China's internal affairs," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular news conference in Beijing. "China resolutely opposes it and has made solemn representation to the US side."

"We suggest the United States respect the fundamental facts, drop the Cold War thinking and prejudices, stop releasing such China military reports and stop the groundless accusations over China, to prevent further damage to the relationship between the two countries and two armies," Qin said.

The Pentagon released its annual report on the Chinese military power on Wednesday, alleging that "China continues to promulgate incomplete defense expenditure figures and engage in actions that appear inconsistent with its declaratory policies."

It claimed that "the limited transparency in China's military and security affairs poses risks to stability by creating uncertainty and increasing the potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation."

In a recent interview, Luo Yuan, a People's Liberation Army major general and a researcher with the Beijing-based Academy of Military Sciences, said the accusations of the so-called "lack of transparency" of China's military were baseless.

"It's not an issue of transparency here, but rather one of trust," he said.

The Chinese government began to submit its annual report on military expenditures to the United Nations in 2007.

In other significant moves to increase its military openness and transparency, China in the past years has invited military representatives from many countries to observe PLA war games, conducted joint military exercises with neighboring countries and enhanced personnel exchanges and dialogue between the PLA and foreign armies.

The Pentagon report also interfered with China's internal affairs by making irresponsible comments on the situation across the Taiwan Strait, Qin said.

"The PLA's modernization vis-a-vis Taiwan has continued over the past year... In the near term, China's armed forces are rapidly developing coercive capabilities for the purpose of deterring Taiwan's pursuit of de jure independence," it alleged.

Last month, during defense policy coordination talks in Beijing between China and the United States, Qian Lihua, director of the Foreign Affairs Office of China's Defense Ministry, urged the US to "prudently deal with the Taiwan question, stop upgrading substantive military relations with Taiwan, stop selling arms and make concrete actions in support of the peaceful development of cross-strait ties."


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