China's military development will not challenge the United States, a People's Liberation Army (PLA) major general and member of the country's top political advisory body said on Wednesday.
"China is the only permanent member of the UN Security Council that has not achieved territorial integrity," said Luo Yuan, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and senior researcher with the Academy of Military Sciences.
"We need to think more on how to preserve national integrity. We have no intention of challenging the US," he added.
Luo's remarks came just before the opening of the third session of the 11th CPPCC, in response to Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu, who recently said in his newly published book that China should build the world's strongest military.
"That's just his ambition," Luo said.
"China's big goal in the 21st century is to become the world's No 1, the top power," Liu wrote in The China Dream, which appeared on the bookshelves in Beijing just a few days ago.
Liu's 303-page book stands out for its boldness in a recent chorus of strong voices demanding a hard shove back against Washington over the US' arms sale to Taiwan and US President Barack Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama.
"I'm very pessimistic about the future," writes Colonel Dai Xu, in another recently published book, claiming China is largely surrounded by hostile or wary countries beholden to the US. "I believe that China cannot escape the calamity of war and this calamity may come in the not-too-distant future, at most in 10 to 20 years."
Several others do not agree with the two PLA writers.
Zhao Qizheng, spokesman for the CPPCC, said China's military power does not threaten other countries.
"China's defense spending was just about 1.4 or 1.5 percent of the country's GDP in recent years. US defense spending was more than 4 percent of its GDP, which is three times as big as China's," Zhao said on Tuesday.
China's military budget in 2009 was 480 billion yuan ($70 billion). Zhao said only about a third of China's military spending went into the research, development and purchase of new weapons. "Maybe it's not enough to buy a B2 bomber," he added.
US military spending, by contrast, was about $494 billion, according to the Washington-based Center for Defense Information.
"China's development does not aim at challenging any other country. China does not aim to change the current international system either," said another anonymous PLA officer and researcher with a top military think tank.
Even though he admitted that Beijing has "all the necessary" sophisticated weapons, "we cannot compare with the US in terms of quantity".
"Personally, I do not agree with big talks by some scholars, (which) could only misdirect China's national image," he said. "We should do more, but speak less."