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Monday, Dec 09, 2019

China says the US is undermining global stability

The paper titled “China’s National Defense in the New Era” -- in a reference to a key Xi slogan -- said that the U.S. had provoked competition among major countries. The paper noted that the “international security system and order are undermined by growing hegemonism, power politics, unilateralism and constant regional conflicts and wars.”

world Updated: Jul 24, 2019 20:08 IST
Dandan Li in Beijing
Dandan Li in Beijing
Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping.
U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping.(REUTERS Photo)
         

China accused the US of undermining global stability, as the country released its first defense white paper since Chinese President Xi Jinping initiated a sweeping military overhaul in 2015.

The paper titled “China’s National Defense in the New Era” -- in a reference to a key Xi slogan -- said that the U.S. had provoked competition among major countries. The paper noted that the “international security system and order are undermined by growing hegemonism, power politics, unilateralism and constant regional conflicts and wars.”

The language represented a departure from the previous report, which focused on efforts to improve military-to-military cooperation between the world’s two largest economies.

This year’s white paper “was the first to be much more explicit about Chinese concerns regarding the United States,” said M. Taylor Fravel, author of “Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy Since 1949” and a political science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “The references to the U.S. reflect the deepening tensions and rivalry between the two countries.”

‘Strategic Competitor’

Xi is preparing to mark 70 years of Communist Party rule in Beijing later this year facing a trade war with the U.S. that has aggravated a host of security disputes between the two countries. President Donald Trump’s administration last year issued a scathing report accusing China of “economic aggression,” following on from the Pentagon’s decision to brand the country a “strategic competitor.”

Meanwhile, disputes over Washington’s military support for Taipei have re-emerged as the U.S. approves arms sales, publicizes naval transits through the Taiwan Strait and shows other support for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. The white paper highlighted recent patrols by Chinese warships and warplanes around Taiwan, saying the operations sent a “stern warning” to independence advocates, in a reference to Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party.

The Mainland Affairs Council in Taipei condemned the report as an effort by Beijing to use cross-strait tensions to expand its armed forces. Taiwan’s military was expected to conduct missile tests Wednesday from Pingtung county on the island’s southern coast. The test had been announced July 10 by the Taiwan Fisheries Agency.

China’s paper said the situation in the South China Sea was “generally stable and improving” as regional countries are properly managing risks and differences. The U.S. has accused China of militarizing the disputed waterway by deploying forces on reclaimed reefs while Beijing describes increased American naval patrols as destabilizing. America is also strengthening its Asia-Pacific military alliances, further complicating regional security, the white paper said.

Earlier: China Defense Spending Set to Rise 7.5% as Xi Builds Up Military

China’s military expenditure as a percentage of overall economic output fell to 1.26% in 2017, compared with a peak of 5.43% in 1979, the report said. During that period, China experienced unprecedented economic growth and rose from a relatively weak military power to the country with the world’s second-largest military budget, behind the U.S. China needed to further modernize its army because it still lagged behind the world’s best, it said.

“China is moving to own the regional security discourse and narrative,” said Alexander Neill, a Shangri-La Dialogue senior fellow for Asia-Pacific security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “It’s describing the U.S. alliance system as a moribund relic of the cold war and China has a new vision underpinned by Xi Jinping’s vision.”

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)