China defense chief says military buildup no threat to the world

Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:28am EST
 
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By Terril Yue Jones

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's military buildup poses no threat to the world, Defense Minister Liang Guanglie said on Tuesday, in an effort to allay fears among Asian neighbors amid long-running maritime disputes.

The United States, Japan and many other Southeast Asian states have frequently expressed worries about China's double-digit defense spending increases and expanding naval reach, saying Beijing's plans lack transparency.

"There is absolutely no need for that," Liang told Reuters, when asked about neighbors' concerns.

"The Chinese military must develop, but there's no 'worry' or 'fear' as the outside world says," he said before a meeting with visiting U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. "That's not what China is about."

China's growing military influence has coincided with a more assertive diplomatic tone, evident in rows with Japan and Southeast Asia over disputed islands. China has also told the United States, with President Barack Obama's "pivot" to Asia, not to get involved.

Liang, speaking at China's Defense Ministry, stressed the need for cooperation between Beijing and Washington, which has called on China to share more about its military ambitions.

"We should develop the ties between us, between our two militaries, touch on some of our differences, resolve conflicting views," Liang said before meeting Mabus.

"We should push forward the development of our two powers, and push forward the development of a new China-U.S. military relationship," he said. "Our two countries' ties are very important."   Continued...

 
United States Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus (L) shakes hands with China's Defense Minister Liang Guanglie during a meeting at the Bayi Building, in Beijing November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee