Thu, Jun 03, 2004 - Page 4 News List

US criticizes China's military buildup

CROSS-STRAIT CONFLICT US Department of State spokesman Richard Boucher said China's military buildup and missile deployment was destabilizing the region


The US considers the Chinese military buildup as destabilizing, according to the spokesman for the US Department of State.

"We do see the military buildup and missile deployment [against Taiwan] as destabilizing," spokesman Richard Boucher said during a regular press briefing on Tuesday.

"We've said that publicly as well, because it's a situation that is of importance to us and concern to us. We want to see peaceful resolution, we don't want to see coercion. And we want to be quite clear on that," Boucher noted.

The Pentagon warned in a report on May 28 that China was developing "credible military options" to prevent Taiwan from achieving independence, including tools to discourage the US from coming to Taiwan's aid in the event of a cross-strait conflict.

Beijing on Tuesday defended its military buildup as essential to "safeguarding national sovereignty" and brushed off the Pentagon report as being hostile and based on a Cold War mentality.

Boucher was asked during the press briefing how he can reconcile the fact that the US and China are enjoying a warmer relationship and better cooperation, like in Iraq, while the US at the same time still publicly treats China as a threat.

Boucher answered that he would not speak for the Pentagon report or comment on the Chinese reaction to it, but he did say that "we have had a very consistent policy of cooperating with China wherever we can but also being clear about our differences."

"And when it comes to the Taiwan Straits, I think we have a very consistent policy supporting peaceful resolution. We have opposed the use of force to settle the conflict in the Taiwan Straits, and we view military coercion as counterproductive. So that's been a very steady policy that we've enunciated before," Boucher said.

As to reports that the UK is about to join France and other EU members to lift the EU ban on arms sales to China, Boucher answered that he hasn't heard anything from the British on the issue.

However, Boucher added that "we've been fairly consistent in our talks with European Union members, making clear our view that it's not time to lift the arms embargo on China that they have."

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