China-US relations

Donald Trump ‘ignores facts’: Chinese military hits back at claim it is trying to challenge US interests

Beijing hits back after US president’s new national security strategy highlights perceived challenge to American interests

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 December, 2017, 1:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 December, 2017, 9:41pm

The Chinese military has rejected US President Donald Trump’s accusation that it is a challenge to American’s national security, according to a statement released late on Wednesday night.

The Chinese defence ministry said Trump’s speech on Monday “ignored facts, hyped up China’s defence modernisation progress, questioned the intention of Chinese military development, and went against peaceful developments of these times and of Sino-US relations”.

The comments were in response to Trump’s new national security strategy that said China was developing “advanced weapons and capabilities” that could threaten the US’ “critical infrastructure and our command and control architecture”.

Trump’s strategy accused China of seeking to “displace the US in the Indo-Pacific region, expand the reach of its state-driven economic model and reorder the region in its favour”.

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The president’s tone was a stark contrast to that of his predecessor Barack Obama, who referred to China as a “strategic partner” despite tensions between the two sides.

The Chinese foreign ministry and the embassy in Washington DC both rejected the strategy’s claims.

The defence ministry said the People’s Liberation Army was not set up to threaten any country as it was designed for defensive purposes, and its development would signal the growing power of peace.

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“Yet, looking at some other countries, [they] easily prioritise their own benefits over the mutual benefits of the international community, [their] minds filled with the old zero-sum game mentality,” the defence ministry said. “[They] label one country and define another, [they] show obvious self-interest only. The international community would judge for themselves.”