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China Criticises Irresponsible Comments By Pentagon Official

Pentagon official Richard Lawless said China was deliberately masking the nature of its military capabilities, which he said could only worry the US and other governments.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) June 14, 2007
China on Thursday criticised what it called "irresponsible" comments by a US defense official who said the nation's military transformation should raise alarm bells overseas. Pentagon official Richard Lawless had said Beijing's lack of military transparency was forcing the United States to "prepare for the worst" and was causing unease over China's intentions towards its rival Taiwan.

"This US official, regardless of the facts, has used the so-called military capacity issue to spread the theory of a 'China threat' and is interfering in China's internal affairs," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told journalists.

"He also made irresponsible comments on China's military power and defence policy. We express our opposition to this."

Lawless said China has deployed about 900 missiles opposite Taiwan, and is rolling out far more sophisticated long-range nuclear missiles, combat planes, warships and submarines.

Qin, however, criticised the US for selling weapons to Taiwan and failing to live up to its commitments to abide by the "one China" policy that maintains Taiwan is part of China.

"We hope the US can abide by its repeated commitment to the 'one China' policy ..., stop selling weapons to Taiwan and not send any wrong signals to secessionist forces supporting Taiwan independence," Qin said.

China and Taiwan have been estranged since the end of a long civil war in 1949.

Qin said China has been transparent in its position toward Taiwan but stopped short of repeating Beijing's vow to retake the island by force if the territory should ever declare formal independence.

Lawless said China was deliberately masking the nature of its military capabilities, which he said could only worry the US and other governments.

"I think if we had a true dialogue of depth... we might be able to constrain and put some of those issues of (Chinese) intent to bed," Lawless told a congressional hearing.

"Not being able to, we must plan and prepare for the worst."

Qin countered that China was ready to step up military dialogue and exchanges with Washington to enhance mutual understanding and trust.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Pentagon Drops Ideology
Arlington VA (UPI) June 13, 2007
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