Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online
Major General Luo Yuan, deputy secretary general of the China Society of Military Science, said the report titled "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China" issued by the U.S. Department of Defense recently showed U.S. worries about China's five military abilities.
The United States is concerned about China's potential use of its military ability to strengthen its diplomatic advantages, to solve disputes, to hold back "Taiwanese independence," to restrain U.S. support to Taiwan and the People's Liberation Army's ability to execute new concepts of military operations.
Luo said that U.S. concerns are groundless.
"In any country, military strength is the bulwark of the country's diplomatic activities and must have the ability to solve disputes. Otherwise, the existence of the armed forces is pointless," Luo said.
The annual report by the U.S. Department of Defense evaluating China's military strength has almost always mentioned so-called military transparency. This year's report said that China's military strength has "continued to improve but progress is limited," and "uncertainty still remains on how China will use its rising defensive capability."
Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen visited China's air force, army and navy as well as its Second Artillery Force last month, including the linchpins of China's military strategy: the ballistic missile force and submarine bases. He also entered and viewed the control cabin of China’s Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet. As the United States is still insatiable, Luo has decried the unreasonable demands from the United States as the "valley of greed that can never be filled."
China has done its best to make its military transparent, including inviting then U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to visit China and welcoming Mullen to visit China's front line troops. Given China's efforts, the United States will go too far if it insists on urging China to make its military more transparent. Luo said that it is reasonable for China to "lift the veils" on some of its weapons, yet it is impossible to "show all of its cards." Neither China nor the United States can do so.
The report has been the annual "disclosure" of China's military strength by the U.S. Department of Defense since 2000. The report for 2011 has added two new "special topics" on China's naval strategy and China’s foreign military contacts. The new report has also covered the development of China's aircraft carrier program, anti-ship ballistic missiles and fighter jets.
Luo said in the interview that the U.S. Department of Defense has made three missteps in releasing the report at such a moment.
First, the report is a product of the Cold War mentality and is not in line with the two characteristics of the times, namely peace and development. The United States used to release annual reports on the military power of the Soviet Union during the Cold War but has turned its attention to China after the Soviets crumbled. This report on China's military has reflected the resurgence of the Cold War mentality in the United States.
Second, the report is not in line with the established principles of China-U.S. relations. China sticks to the fundamental principles of "mutual respect, mutual trust, equality and mutual benefit" when developing military-to-military relations with the United States and is willing to further build up mutual trust through various means.
Luo said that the report is rude interference by the United States in China's internal affairs and national defense development. It has shown the country's lack of respect for China and will lead to greater distrust between the two countries. It should be noted that China has never released any irresponsible reports on the U.S. military.
Third, the report is not in line with the warming trend in China-U.S. relations, given that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden just finished his visit to China, during which he said a close relationship with China was of the "utmost importance." Luo said that the sound development of China-U.S. relations requires the joint efforts of both sides. The United States should take practical actions to fulfill its commitments instead of just paying lip service. It is anything but friendly for the United States to release such a report on China's military.