New US national military strategy report irks China

Beijing slams Pentagon’s new military strategy report which calls possible ‘China threat’ amid soaring South China Sea tension

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

China's Foreign Ministry on Friday raised its concerns over the Pentagon’s newly released National Military Strategy document which indicated an increasing “China threat” to the US security as the parties had already come up against in the South China Sea dispute.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Hua Chunying said on Friday during a daily news briefing that the US was “groundlessly exaggerates the China threat” in its new national military strategy report.

"We express dissatisfaction and opposition towards the U.S. side's report's irrational exaggerations of China's threat," Chunying added.

The US National Military Strategy was released on Wednesday by Army General Martin E. Dempsey and indicated the upcoming military and non-military threats that the US might confront in the near future.

The document, which was updated for the first time since 2011, condemned China’s "aggressive land reclamation efforts" in the South China Sea, as it claimed "China's actions are adding tension to the Asia-Pacific region."

“The international community continues to call on China to settle such issues cooperatively and without coercion. China has responded with aggressive land reclamation efforts that will allow it to position military forces astride vital international sea lanes,” the US military strategy report stated.

But the Chinese side rejected such US claims that Beijing's activities in the South China Sea are “aggressive and inconsistent” with international law.

“China has repeatedly elaborated on its position concerning the construction on some maritime features in the South China Sea,” Hua said.

The Chinese spokeswoman also urged the US to give up “the Cold War mentality, and take an unbiased perspective of China's strategic intention” and called Washington to cooperate with Beijing “to advance the building of the new model of major-country relationship between China and the US.”

Beijing has long been conflicting with its maritime neighbours -Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei - in the South China Sea territorial waters, through which $5 trillion in sea-borne trade passes annually.

The parties’ overlapping claims on maritime transportation, navigation, exclusive economic zones, fishing grounds, undersea bed gas and oil reserves have already deteriorated the problem as China started to build the artificial islands from the last year onwards.

The Pentagon believes that China has added some 2,000 acres (800 hectares) to five outposts in the Spratlys, including 1,500 acres since the start of this year.

The US officials claim that Chinese military complexes are now under construction on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly island including a 3,000-metre runway and that airborne early warning radars will be operational by the year end.

Both the US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter met with some Chinese top political and military officials in the past weeks and urged China for a peaceful solution instead of militarising the region.

Last month, the US had sent  a littoral combat ship and P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft that started prying over the international waters near the Spratly archipelagos where China has been building the artificial islands.

The US administration has reiterated several times that it will continue to patrol waters and skies of the long-disputed waters on which the Chinese navy has repeatedly warned the US surveillance planes to leave the airspace over the islands.



TRTWorld and agencies