China on Thursday denounced US comments on its secretive defence spending as "irresponsible" and asked Washington to stop selling lethal weapons to Taiwan, a self-ruled island viewed by Beijing as a rebel province.
Defending its growing military budget as "open and transparent," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said "China sticks to the role of peaceful development."
"On the military expenditure of China, we are transparent and open. The US official's remarks disregard the facts and spread the China threat theory," Qin told reporters when asked to comment on the remarks made by US deputy undersecretary for defence for Asia, Richard Lawless.
Lawless was reported to have accused China of concealing its spending on its weapons programmes. "What we see is a deliberate effort on the part of China's leaders to mask the nature of Chinese military capabilities," Lawless told the US House Armed Services Committee, reports from Washington said.
In March, China announced that its military budget would be hiked by 17.8 per cent to nearly $45 billion this year.