China blasted the Pentagon's annual report on the communist country's military, charging that the United States "unfairly" described the country's activities in the South China Sea area, reported Reuters
The Pentagon report, released on Friday, provided evidence of China using man-made islands in the South China Sea for military purposes, said the Wall Street Journal
"China's leadership demonstrated a willingness to tolerate higher levels of tension in pursuit of its maritime sovereignty claims," said Abraham Denmark, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, according to the Journal.
"China will be able to use (3,200 acres of new islands with advanced radars, harbors, and airstrips) as persistent civil-military bases to enhance its long-term presence in the South China Sea significantly and enhance China's ability to control the features and nearby maritime space," Denmark said.
China's state news agency Xinhua said the report has "severely damaged mutual trust," between the two countries, charging that it "deliberately distorted" the country's defense policies and "unfairly" described Chinese activities in the East and South China seas, according to Reuters.
"China follows a national defense policy that is defensive in nature," China's Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun, said, reported Reuters. Yang said, according to Reuters, that China's military expansion and reforms are guaranteeing China's peaceful development.
Denmark said in a Defense Department statement
that China appears ready to press on with its military expansion despite the slowdown in its economy.
"From 2006 to 2015, China's officially disclosed military budget grew at an average of 9.8 percent per year in inflation-adjusted terms," Denmark said, adding that its budget left out numerous major spending categories.
"The true expenditure, (the Department of Defense) estimates, in terms of total military-related spending for 2015, exceeded $180 billion in 2015," Denmark said.
Reuters said the Pentagon renewed charges that the Chinese government and military were conducting cyberattacks against U.S. government computer systems, which China refutes.
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