February 27, 2007 / 10:54 AM / 11 years ago

China rejects U.S. criticism of military build-up

BEIJING (Reuters) - China dismissed U.S. criticism of its military build-up on Tuesday, saying the world’s most populous country was an important force for world peace.

Vice President Dick Cheney raised concerns about China’s military build-up last week and said an anti-satellite test was not consistent with Beijing’s stated goal of a “peaceful rise”.

On January 11, China used a ground-based ballistic missile to knock out an aging weather satellite 865 km (540 miles) above Earth, sparking alarm in Washington, Tokyo and other capitals.

“China adheres to the road of peaceful development, and it is an important power for the preservation of the world peace and promotion of world development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference on Tuesday.

“It can be proved from China’s stance and the role it has played in North Korea’s nuclear issue,” Qin said, adding that China had also opposed the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their carriers.

“China has always urged the international community to negotiate and establish as soon as possible a treaty to ban outer space weapons and arms race.”

In October, a U.S. congressional panel released a report that said China, despite its rising power and wealth, might not be willing or ready to play a responsible role in an international system aimed at encouraging peace and stability.

A defense white paper released in December defended China’s rising military spending, pointing out that it spends less per capita than the United States, Britain, France or Russia.

China has won praise for its diplomatic efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis, hosting several rounds of six-party talks to that end.

Earlier this month North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan agreed at the Beijing talks to shut down the North’s main nuclear reactor in return for energy aid.

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