Pentagon accusation rejected

Updated: 2013-05-08 01:17

By Zhao Shengnan and Pu Zhendong in Beijing and Chen Weihua in Washington (China Daily)

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Beijing asserts US defense report hypes military threat from China

Beijing rejected US accusations contained in a Pentagon report on China's military development and urged Washington on Tuesday "not to send the wrong signals" over the Diaoyu Islands.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remarks in response to an annual report on Chinese military capabilities released on Monday.

Beijing objected to the 83-page US report, which said the baseline China drew around the Diaoyu Islands is inconsistent with international law.

The report for the first time also includes claims that some cyberattacks on US computers "appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military".

Observers said the report reflects Washington's sense of rivalry with China and attempts to justify its Asia "pivot" strategy by stirring up tensions between China and some neighboring countries that have territorial disputes.

Referring to the Diaoyu Islands, Hua said the baseline that China claims is "based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea" and is "absolutely in line with international law and practices".

Relations between China and Japan, a key US ally in Asia, have been strained since Tokyo "nationalized" the islands last year. China has owned the islands for centuries. "The US has said many times that it won't take sides over the islands issue, and we hope the US keeps its commitment and does more to boost regional peace and stability, instead of sending the wrong signals over the issue," Hua said at a daily news conference.

Li Haidong, a specialist in China-US relations in Beijing, said the US stance on the Diaoyu Islands will fuel right-wing forces in Japan.

Hua said China's defense buildup was geared toward protecting its national independence and sovereignty, adding that the country is committed to peaceful development, and pursues a defensive policy.

The US Defense Department has repeatedly "made irresponsible comments about China's normal and justified defense buildup and hyped the so-called China military threat", she added.

The spokeswoman also said China is firmly against computer hacking attacks in any form and would like to hold "calm and constructive" talks with the US about cybersecurity. "But groundless accusations and flare-ups will only hurt both sides' endeavors and the atmosphere for talks," Hua added.

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