Mar 07, 2008

Taiwan: China Denies Bully Status

China accuses the US of overstating its threat to Taiwan while severely understating its recent aggressive measures.

China accuses the US of overstating its threat to Taiwan while severely understating its recent aggressive measures.

Below is an article published by the Associated Press:

The U.S. military is exaggerating China's threat against Taiwan to justify arms sales to the island, the Communist Party's main newspaper said Thursday [6 March 2008].

A recent U.S. Defense Department report also overstated China's space weapons and cyberwarfare capabilities and glossed over the People's Liberation Army's steps toward greater transparency, the paper said in a signed editorial.

The report "further propagandizes the 'China military threat theory," it said.

The editorial comes days after China announced a 17.6 percent increase in military spending — the 18th double-digit percentage rise in 19 years — and follows harsh comments by Chinese leaders warning of retaliation if self-governing Taiwan pursues moves to shore up its de facto independent status.

Increased spending has helped the PLA — the world's largest standing army with 2.3 million members — add billions of dollars worth of high-tech missiles, warplanes, submarines and fighting ships

Despite its standing threat to attack Taiwan, the editorial called U.S. warnings of a growing gap in military capabilities a "hackneyed phrase" that appeared each year in the Pentagon report.

"The main purpose is to manufacture an excuse to continue to sell weapons to Taiwan," the report said.

While Washington switched formal diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, it remains legally obligated to help ensure Taiwan's security and is far and away the island's largest seller of military hardware.

The editorial blasted the U.S. for rejecting a joint Russian-Chinese anti-space weapons initiative submitted last month, while launching a missile to blow up its own defunct spy satellite.

Washington called the proposal biased and unfair and has repeatedly asked Beijing for information on its own successful test of an anti-satellite weapon last year [2007].

The report said the PLA had boosted transparency by issuing annual reports on its overall status, publicizing spending and engaging in joint drills with more than 20 nations. It pointed also to Beijing's constructive role in hosting talks on dismantling North Korea's nuclear capability and dispatch of engineering troops to Sudan's troubled Darfur region.

"You can see China's important role in stabilizing the regional situation in maintaining world peace," the editorial said.

"In reality, some people in America need to overcome their 'amnesia,'" it said.

China says its armed forces are for defensive purposes only. Yet, the editorial did not flatly deny attempts to build space weapons and attack electronic information systems as government spokesmen previously have.