China has voiced strong opposition to a report by the U.S. Defense Department on China's military and security developments, saying it misinterprets China's strategic intentions and hypes a so-called Chinese military threat.
The report, released on Thursday, distorts the relations and situation across the Taiwan Straits, said Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, in a statement on Friday.
"The release of such reports year after year has harmed the mutual trust, and we ask the United States to abandon the Cold War mindset and adopt an objective and rational attitude toward China's defense and military developments," he said.
China has firmly taken the path of peaceful development and remained a contributor to world peace and international order, Wu said, and its military has borne considerable international peacekeeping and disaster relief responsibilities, earning "universal praise from the international community".
He said China's military modernization is aimed at safeguarding its sovereignty and security, as well as world peace and stability, and the military reform, weapons development and cyberspace defense are justifiable and reasonable.
Wu urged the U.S. to adhere to the one-China policy and the principles of the three joint communiques, and to discreetly deal with Taiwan-related issues.
"It is an ironclad fact that Taiwan is a part of China," he said, "The Chinese military will as always stand firm in safeguarding China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits."
China's activities on islands and reefs in the South China Sea are legitimate in safeguarding national territory and meet people's demand so as to better fulfill its international obligations. China is also committed to resolving disputes peacefully through negotiations with related parties.
The real threat to regional peace and stability is the U.S. sending warplanes and ships to the South China Sea in the name of "freedom of navigation", he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Saturday that the report ignores and misjudges China's efforts in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and security interests.
He called on the U.S. to refrain from such irresponsible reports and make efforts to maintain stable growth of relations between the two countries and their militaries.
Teng Jianqun, director of the China Institute of International Studies' Department for U.S. Studies, said the report, like other recent U.S. acts, serves to smear China and depict a "China threat".
"The report is their routine depiction and has its own purpose and strategy," he said.
The annual report generally looks at countries the U.S. thinks could challenge its military dominance, said Li Haidong, a U.S. studies researcher at China Foreign Affairs University.
This year it also touches on such issues as Taiwan and investment security. "And the main reason is that U.S. China policy has undergone some major changes and adjustments," he said.
Li said the U.S. has considered China a strategic competitor since late last year.
"China still stresses equality, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation, but the report defames China in an exaggerated way," Li said.