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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:39, May 25, 2005
Pentagon report: China an emerging rival
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A Pentagon report on China's military is to warn the United States that it should take more seriously the possibility that China might emerge as a strategic rival to the US, a senior US government official said.

A Financial Times report said the Pentagon is preparing to release the report, which has generated controversy in the Bush administration because of earlier drafts that concerned National Security Council officials by painting what they saw as an overly antagonistic picture of China, according to two people with knowledge of the report.

There were also concerns that the report could complicate US efforts to work with China to encourage North Korea to return to the negotiating table over its nuclear programme.

Late on Tuesday a senior government official said the controversy did not concern content but only its ��presentation��.

He said it was important to emphasise that the report presented a ��range of outcomes�� that could materialise along with China's economic growth, according to the FT report.

US President George W. Bush came to office in 2001 calling China a ��strategic competitor�� rather than a ��strategic partner��, the term favoured by the Clinton administration.

But US-China relations have improved markedly since the 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on the US as China has co-operated in the US ��war on terror��.

Two sources said the report would mention ��assassin's mace�� strategies, a term employed during China's warring-states period that referred to secret weapons and strategies used to deceive and defeat enemies quickly.

The report is expected to emphasise ��known unknowns�� including the lack of US knowledge about the actual size of the Chinese defence budget and its future military strategy.

The language is an attempt to emphasise that the US should not accept at face value China's statements that it intends to emerge as a peaceful power, FT report says.

One source defended the original report, saying the Pentagon was simply responding to congressional pressure. He said Duncan Hunter, the chairman of the House armed services committee, and China hawks on the Senate armed services committee were concerned that previous reports had been too soft in assessing China's future strategies.

In recent months, senior US officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, and Porter Goss, the Central Intelligence Agency director, have voiced concerns about the rapidly expanding Chinese military.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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