BEIJING Nov 27 China's military buildup poses
no threat to the world, Defence Minister Liang Guanglie said on
Tuesday, in an effort to allay fears among Asian neighbours amid
long-running maritime disputes.
The United States, Japan and many other Southeast Asian
states have frequently expressed worries about China's
double-digit defence spending increases and expanding naval
reach, saying Beijing's plans lack transparency.
"There is absolutely no need for that," Liang told Reuters,
when asked about neighbours' concerns.
"The Chinese military must develop, but there's no 'worry'
or 'fear' as the outside world says," he said before a meeting
with visiting U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. "That's not what
China is about."
China's growing military influence has coincided with a more
assertive diplomatic tone, evident in rows with Japan and
Southeast Asia over disputed islands. China has also told the
United States, with President Barack Obama's "pivot" to Asia,
not to get involved.
Liang, speaking at China's Defence Ministry, stressed the
need for cooperation between Beijing and Washington, which has
called on China to share more about its military ambitions.
"We should develop the ties between us, between our two
militaries, touch on some of our differences, resolve
conflicting views," Liang said before meeting Mabus.
"We should push forward the development of our two powers,
and push forward the development of a new China-U.S. military
relationship," he said. "Our two countries' ties are very
The modernisation of China's army in particular has raised
concern in the region. China's People's Liberation Army, which
encompasses all branches of the military, has launched a new
wave of technology and hardware this year.
It has test-flown its first two stealth fighters, and
launched its first aircraft carrier, which it bought from
Ukraine and refurbished. This month, it unveiled a new attack
China has also been raising its profile in the South and
East China Seas this year, reasserting its sovereignty over
islands or waters also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam,
Malaysia, Japan and others.
China ushered in a new generation of leaders this month at
the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, with outgoing
President Hu Jintao making a pointed reference to strengthening
China's naval forces, protecting maritime interests and the need
to "win local war".
Both Vietnam and the Philippines have previously complained
about Chinese activity and even harassment in contested parts of
the South China Sea.
China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan
all claim territory in the sea, which covers important shipping
routes and is thought to hold untapped oil and gas reserves.
China's claim is by far the largest, forming a vast U-shape
over most of the sea's 648,000 square miles (1.7 million square
km), including the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos.
Sino-Japanese relations are also under strain after the
Japanese government bought disputed islands, triggering violent
protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese products across