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'Obama's new policy may cause military tensions'

world Updated: Jan 07, 2012 13:18 IST

US President Barack Obama's revamped national defence strategy shifting focus to Asia-Pacific region and identifying China as a security threat may challenge mutual trust and cause potential military tensions between the two countries, official media said on Saturday.

The new defence strategic document titled 'Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defence' calls for the US military to strengthen its presence in Asia-Pacific and identifies China as a security threat in long term.

The military review says US economic and security interests are "inextricably" connected with the area and the US military accordingly will "of necessity rebalance toward the Asia- Pacific region", including strengthening Asian allies and investing in the strategic partnership with India, state-run China Daily reported.

According to the review, US fears China's rise will affect its economy and security in many ways and it worries about the strategic intention of China's military buildup.

"The assertive moves by the US may cause potential military tensions between China and the US," said Yuan Peng, an expert of American studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

"China has repeatedly explained its defensive policy, but the US keeps pressuring China. This may irritate China and lead to negative reactions if the US continues to do so," Yuan told the Daily.

"However, we need to be clear that the draft of the plan, as a whole, is not China-centred, though it is somehow offending that the document puts China in a similar position with Iran," Yuan said.

In the 10 primary missions of the US armed forces listed in the draft of the plan, China was mentioned with Iran - a country labelled as a member of "the axis of evil" by former president George W Bush.

"Why does the US want to shift its focus to Asia-Pacific as the region has been the most peaceful area compared with other areas which saw conflicts and wars in the last three decades?" said Xu Hui, professor with Beijing-based National Defense University.

Although the Chinese government did not comment on the US review, it had said earlier that it welcomes the US playing a positive role in the region, but it opposes Washington's involvement in disputes in the South China Sea.

"While boosting its military presence in the Asia Pacific, the US should abstain from flexing its muscles... If the US indiscreetly applies militarism in the region, it will be like a bull in a china shop, and endanger peace instead of enhancing regional stability," state-run Xinhua news agency said in a comment piece.