China condemned the United States (US) Defense Department’s annual report on the Chinese military on Sunday, calling it deliberate distortion that has “severely damaged” mutual trust.
In its annual report to Congress on Chinese military activities, the US Defense Department said on Friday that China is expected to add substantial military infrastructure, including communications and surveillance systems, to artificial islands in the South China Sea this year.
China’s Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun expressed “strong dissatisfaction” and “firm opposition” to the Pentagon report and said it has “severely damaged mutual trust”, state news agency Xinhua reported.
The report “hyped up” China’s military threat and lack of transparency, “deliberately distorted” Chinese defence policies and “unfairly” depicted Chinese activities in the East and South China seas, Yang was quoted as saying.
“China follows a national defence policy that is defensive in nature,” Yang said, adding that the country’s military build-up and reforms are aimed at maintaining sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and guaranteeing China’s peaceful development.
It is the US that has always been suspicious and flexing its military muscle by frequently sending military aircraft and warships to the region, Yang said.
Despite its calls for freedom of navigation and restraint for peace, the US has pushed forward militarisation of the South China Sea with an “intention to exert hegemony”, Yang added.