Xu defends China's military might

08:20, October 28, 2009      

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General Xu Caihou defended Beijing's rapid military modernization Monday, including the development of advanced weapons, as being aimed at meeting its minimum defense requirements.

Xu, vice chairman of China's military commission, sought to allay US suspicions over the growing might of the China by insisting that Beijing harbors no expansionist ambitions and wants collaborative international relations.

"We will never seek hegemony, military expansion or an arms race," he told an audience of foreign-policy experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

When asked about its development of missiles designed to target US warships in the Pacific, Xu said such Western suspicions were unfounded.

"It is a limited capability, and limited weapons and equipment for the minimum requirement of its national security," he said, speaking through an interpreter.

Xu also defended China's double-digit annual increases in defense spending as "quite low" both in real terms and as a percentage of its gross domestic product.

Whereas US defense spending amounts to 4.8 percent of its GDP, China's is only 1.4 percent, he said.

The US has repeatedly urged China to be more transparent about its military spending, warning of a shifting balance of power in the region that could arouse misunderstanding and miscalculation.

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