By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA) – China on Tuesday rejected the latest US report on its military, accusing Washington of "distorting" facts, "creating division" and "inciting" confrontation.
Reacting to Pentagon’s “2022 China Military Power Report,” China’s Defense Ministry spokesperson Senior Colonel Tan Kefei said it “distorted China’s national defense policy and military strategy, made groundless speculation about China's military development, and grossly interfered in China on the Taiwan question.”
“China is firmly committed to the path of peaceful development, upholds a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, and is always a builder of world peace, contributor to global development and defender of the international order,” he added.
The US Defense Department last week in its annual report outlined the “challenges” facing the American military and assessed “changes” in China’s military and security strategy.
It highlighted China’s efforts to “expand its national power to transform the international system; increase military coercion; strengthen its space, nuclear and counterspace capabilities; and intensify its diplomatic, political, economic and military pressure against Taiwan.”
A senior US defense official had said: “It’s important to understand the contours of (People's Liberation Army – PLA) modernization to include their thinking about what the PLA’s way of war would look like, to kind of survey their current activities and modernizing capabilities and to assess their future military modernization goals.”
However, Tan said China's military development “aims to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.”
“No matter how developed it may become, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion.
“In pursuit of its own interests, the US has created divisions and incited confrontation all over the world,” Tan said, accusing Washington of being the “biggest troublemaker and destroyer of world peace and stability.”
On Taiwan, the Chinese defense ministry spokesperson said: “Taiwan is China’s Taiwan, and the Taiwan question is China's internal affair that brooks no outside interference.”
“The Chinese armed forces have the confidence and capability to thwart any external interference and separatist attempts for ‘Taiwan independence’ and achieve the complete reunification of the motherland,” he added.
According to the Pentagon report, China aims to expand its nuclear forces, with the goal of having 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035.
The Chinese army plans to complete the modernization of its national defense and armed forces by that year and puts investment in the number of its land-, sea-, and air-based nuclear delivery platforms, it added.
Tan denounced the US claims about China's nuclear arsenal.
“China firmly pursues a nuclear strategy of self-defense, adheres to the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and keeps the nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security,” the spokesman said.
“The US is accelerating the construction of the ‘Trinity’ nuclear force, vigorously developing and seeking forward deployment of tactical nuclear weapons and lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons,” Tan said.
He blamed the trilateral security partnership among the US, UK, and Australia – known as AUKUS – for “increasingly becoming the source of nuclear conflicts.”
“We urge the US side to abandon the Cold War mentality, banish preconceptions and stereotypes about China, correct its wrong perception of China, view the development of China's national defense and armed forces rationally, stop making erroneous remarks and relevant reports, and take concrete actions to bring bilateral and military-to-military relations back to the track of sound and stable development,” Tan added.