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China Condemns U.S. Military Report as "Interference"

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  • China Condemns U.S. Military Report as "Interference"

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009...ilitary-report

    China condemns US military report as 'interference'

    Foreign ministry spokesman says assessment of Beijing's military strength is 'gross distortion'

    Associated Press guardian.co.uk,
    Thursday 26 March 2009 11.00 GMT

    China has reacted angrily to a US report on Beijing's growing military power, describing it as a "gross distortion" and saying it could damage military relations between the two countries.

    A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman chided the report, calling it "interference" in China's affairs and saying that his country had formally complained to the US.

    "It is a gross distortion of facts and interference into China's internal affairs. China resolutely opposes it and has made solemn representation to the US side," said , Qin Gang.

    The US defence department report said Beijing's rapidly growing military strength is shifting the military balance in the region and could be used to force its claim in disputed territories.

    The report, an annual assessment for Congress, said China continues to develop weapons that threaten longtime rival Taiwan, even though tensions between the two sides have been reduced significantly.

    The report also said that China is developing longer-range capabilities that could have an effect beyond the Asia-Pacific region.

    Qin said China has pursued peaceful development and that its military policy is defensive in nature.

    "We urge the US side to respect this fundamental fact, drop the Cold War mentality and bias … and stop making groundless accusations against China so as not to further damage the two countries' military relations," he said. "It is a gross distortion of facts and interference into China's internal affairs."

    The report comes in the wake of heightened tensions between America and China after Chinese vessels this month harassed a US navy surveillance ship in international waters in the South China Sea.

    Military-to-military talks between the two countries resumed recently after a five-month suspension over US arms sales to Taiwan last year.

    The defence department report noted that the "pace and scope of China's military transformation have increased" in recent years with the purchase of foreign weapons and greater spending on new technologies and reforms of the armed forces.

    It said China continued to develop "disruptive" technologies such as anti-satellite weapons and satellite communication jammers.

    China has increased its annual military by double-digit percentages for nearly two decades. This year, Beijing announced a 14.9% rise in military spending to 480.68bn yuan (£48bn), though it was a smaller increase than in previous years.

    The country's annual military spending is the equivalent to that of Britain, Russia and Japan combined. However, it is still dwarfed by US military expenditures, which are nearly 10 times as large.
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