Chinese defense ministry report criticizes US’ ‘pivot’

AP, BEIJING

Wed, Apr 17, 2013 - Page 6

In its latest account of national defense efforts, China yesterday said the US is destabilizing the Asia-Pacific region by strengthening its military alliances and sending more ships, planes, and troops to the area.

The US policy known as the “pivot” to Asia runs counter to regional trends and “frequently makes the situation tenser,” the Ministry of National Defense said in its annual white paper on the state of China’s defense posture and armed forces.

China faces “multiple and complicated security threats” despite its growing influence, the report said, adding that the US strategy meant “profound changes” for Asia.

“There are some countries which are strengthening their Asia-Pacific military alliances, expanding their military presence in the region and frequently make the situation there tenser,” the ministry said in the 40-page document, in a clear reference to the US.

“Certain efforts made to highlight the military agenda, enhance military deployment and also strengthen alliances are not in line with the calling of the times and are not conducive to the upholding of peace and stability in the region,” ministry spokesman Yang Yujun (楊宇軍) said at a news conference marking the report’s release.

“We hope that the relevant parties would do more to enhance the mutual trust between countries in the region and contribute to peace and stability,” Yang said.

China has consistently criticized Washington’s deployment of additional ships and personnel to Asia, along with increasing cooperation both with treaty partners as well as non-traditional allies.

In its report, the ministry again sought to assuage concerns about its more than 500 percent increase in defense spending over the past 14 years. China’s defense budget is now the second-largest in the world after the US.

Much of the report was devoted to the military’s contribution to UN peacekeeping efforts and disaster relief, portraying the People’s Liberation Army as a force for regional and global stability.

Additional reporting by Reuters