Defence Ministry has lodged a complaint with the United States about a
Pentagon report that said China’s military was likely training for
strikes against the United States and its allies, saying it was “pure
The assessment, at a time of heightened U.S.-China tensions over trade,
was contained in an annual report that highlighted China’s efforts to
increase its global influence, with defense spending that the Pentagon
estimated exceeded USD 190 billion in 2017.
“The Chinese military’s strengthening of modernization is to protect the
country’s sovereignty, security and development interests, as well as
global peace, stability and prosperity,” it said.
“The Chinese military’s reform, weapons development and defensive
capabilities in the internet space are just and reasonable. The
criticism in the U.S. report is pure guesswork.”
The Pentagon report said that while the People’s Liberation Army had
continued to extend operations, it was not clear what message Beijing
was looking to send by carrying out bomber flights “beyond a
demonstration of improved capabilities.”
This year, China’s air force landed bombers on islands and reefs in the
South China Sea as part of a training exercise in the disputed region.
In January the Pentagon put countering Beijing, along with Russia, at
the center of a new national defense strategy.
China’s Defence Ministry said the “peaceful construction work” in the
South China Sea was its right as a sovereign country, and it criticized
the United States for its freedom of navigation operations there.
It said the report by the United States harms mutual trust between the
two countries, the ministry said.
“We demand the U.S. side abandons Cold War thinking, objectively and
rationally views China’s defense and military construction, stops
issuing the relevant reports, and takes actual steps to promote and
protect the stable development of military-to-military relations,” it
While Washington and Beijing maintain a military-to-military
relationship aimed at containing tensions, this has been tested in
recent months, notably in May when the Pentagon withdrew an invitation
to China to join a multinational naval exercise.