PLA general assures U.S. Beijing’s military build up is peaceful

14:24, October 27, 2009      

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China's second highest-ranking military officer offers assurances that Beijing's military build-up was entirely for peaceful purposes, at the start of a visit to the U.S.

Speaking at a Washington-based think-tank ahead of a private meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, General Xu Caihou said Monday that China had no intentions of regional hegemony or starting an arms race in Asia.

Xu, vice chairman of the People's Liberation Army's Central Military Commission, called for closer ties with the U.S. and said both militaries were tackling similar goals: confronting terrorism, self-defense and aiding disaster relief.

“We are now predominantly committed to peaceful development, and we will not and could not challenge or threaten any other country,” Xu told the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, complaining of “suspicion and misunderstand” about Beijing's intentions.

“China's defense policy remains defensive,” he said.

Any Chinese offensive would be launched “only after the enemy has started an attack”.

But China suffers from “secessionist” movements and had yet to become a “united” country, Xu said, referring to long-standing tensions over Taiwan, Tibet and unrest between Muslim Uighurs and ethnic Chinese in the western province of Xinjiang.

Xu's visit to the U.S. is aimed at building trust between the two militaries. He will meet U.S. defense officials and tour a number of military installations. Defense Secretary Robert Gates traveled to China two years ago.

"China will always be a staunch force for promoting world peace and common development," Xu said, noting the country's participation in UN peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.

He said economic development remained China's top priority.

Source: Agencies/People's Daily Online
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