China defends military buildup

BEIJING, April 28 (UPI) — China’s development of weapons is only for its own security, a defense ministry spokesman told a news conference, the first such by the ministry.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the ministry’s foreign affairs office in Beijing, spokesman Geng Yansheng said the development of weapons and equipment is not directed against any other country or specific target, China Daily reported.

China’s military buildup, especially its heavy investment in ballistic and cruise missile development, is raising concerns in the West, but Geng said the global community should regard weapons tests and equipment upgrades as part of the modernization of the armed forces that is being carried out as technology advances.

The U.S. military has said China’s buildup could pose a challenge to American dominance in the western Pacific.

Geng, who was responding to questions on the second test-flight of the J-20 stealth fighter jet, stressed that China pursues a policy that is defensive in nature, adding it is a common international practice to test new weapons after development, the report said.

Geng confirmed Chen Bingde, chief of general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, would visit the United States May 15-22 with the resumption of high-level military exchanges between the two countries.

News of the visit, in response to an invitation by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, has already has been welcomed by the Pentagon.

\”Key to this is that the two sides should respect and take care of each other’s core interests and concerns, and at the same time properly deal with divergences and sensitive issues,\” Geng said.

Maj. General Luo Yuan, a military researcher at China’s Academy of Military Sciences, told China Daily bilateral military ties are the most sensitive part in the relations between the two countries.

The Chinese defense ministry plans to make the press conference a regular occurrence on the last Wednesday of every month.

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