FM urges U.S. to drop 'Cold War mentality' after Pentagon report

2015-07-03 08:22Global Times Editor: Li Yan

Pentagon report signals U.S. sides with countries near S. China Sea

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday called on the U.S. to abandon its "Cold War mentality" and avoid confrontation following the Pentagon's release of a new military strategy which regards states like China as a "threat" to U.S. security interests.

The report was released Wednesday local time. The last such report was issued in 2011.

The report warns of a "low but growing" probability of the U.S. fighting a war with a major power, which would have "immense" consequences. It also singles out disputes in the South China Sea and said that China's constructions on some islands are "adding tension to the Asia-Pacific region."

"China resolutely adheres to its path of a peaceful and defensive national security policy, which has served as the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region as well as in the world," China's foreign ministry told the Global Times in a written response.

The U.S. should abandon its Cold War mentality, and instead should correctly perceive China's strategic intentions, the ministry said.

In a separate written reply to the Global Times, China's defense ministry said the U.S. had made "groundless accusations" about China's rightful construction in the South China Sea and hyped up the theory of the "China threat," which the ministry opposes.

"The U.S. should stop making irresponsible comments and put more efforts into facilitating the peaceful development of China-U.S. military relations and maintaining regional peace and stability," the ministry said.

Policy shift

Analysts point out that the 2015 report represents a U.S. policy shift in its stance regarding the South China Sea, from non-interference to siding with claimant countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines. Such a shift is closely linked with its "Asia pivot" strategy, analysts added.

"The last report, released in 2011, came after the U.S. administration adopted the 'Asia pivot' strategy, when it showed concern over China's potential as an emerging power," Ni Feng, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

"Relations between China and ASEAN countries have reached new heights in the last decade as China became the largest trading partner of the [ASEAN] countries," Ni noted. "The U.S. is concerned about China's rising clout in the region, and intends to use the South China disputes as a way to regain its influence," he said.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a U.S. think tank, said earlier that a 3,000-meter airstrip China is building on a reef in the South China Sea is nearly complete. Washington wants Beijing to halt construction and militarization in the region, said Bonnie Glaser, an expert at the U.S. think tank, reported AFP.

The previous report, despite stating that the U.S. should "monitor carefully China's military developments," made little mention of the South China Sea issue.

It said that the U.S. seeks "a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship with China," and discussed at length about how the two countries can cooperate on areas such as countering piracy and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and using China's influence with North Korea to preserve stability on the Korean peninsula.


Despite the strongly worded reference to the South China Sea, the report also said that the U.S. "supports China's rise and encourages it to become a partner for greater international security." The U.S. will "continue to invest in a substantial military-to-military relationship with China," the report added.

Zhang Junshe, a captain and research fellow at the Chinese Naval Research Institute, believes that the report reflects that the U.S. is "two-faced" when it comes to its attitude toward China's military strategy.

"The U.S. attitude toward China is different from that of Russia, as the U.S. believes the country is challenging international norms. The report shows the U.S. lacks understanding of China's strategic intentions," Zhang told the Global Times.

Both Zhang and Ni believe the two countries can continue building on their consensus on forming the new model of major-country relations, and expanding mutual trust in military cooperation.

China and the U.S. have maintained a good level of military cooperation, for example by holding joint anti-piracy navy drills off Somalia in 2012.

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