Gen. Chen Bingde, head of China’s armed forces, said during a charm offensive in Washington this week that his country is two decades behind the United States in military development, the National Journal
reports. Speaking on Wednesday at the National Defense University, Chen described his U.S. tour as eye-opening.
“We are not that strong yet,” he said of his country’s own forces. “And to be honest, I feel very sad after visiting [the United States] because I feel and I know how poor our equipments are and how underdeveloped our forces are.”
Chen struck a conciliatory tone, acknowledging friction over the two countries’ competing interests in Taiwan. However, he said China’s intent is not to confront America but to engage it.
He also made a suggestion on one security concern, Somali pirates, that went over well with his U.S. counterparts. As the Washington Wire blog of The Wall Street Journal
reports, Chen said it’s time to hit pirate bosses on land, in the home bases where they make plans and handle ransom money, and not confine counter-piracy to sea patrols.
He said jokingly that Washington ought to lend back some of the money it borrows from China, a big buyer of U.S. debt, so he can pay for modernizing his military.
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