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No threat from military development
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Chinese navy destroyer escorting a Chinese merchant ship through the Somali waters. [File photo]

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) will not engage in any arms race and its development does not pose a threat to any country, a senior military official has said.

Huang Xueping, deputy director-general of the Information Office of the Ministry of National Defense, made the assurance in an interview with China Daily.

The Chinese military has strengthened its power along with the country's robust economic growth in recent years.

On Dec 26 last year, China sent two destroyers and one supply ship to escort merchant ships in the pirate-infested waters of Somalia, the first time the country has sent troops far afield to perform military escort missions since 1949.

Speculation arouse that China was building up its military power, changing its defensive policy and aiming to expand its military presence worldwide.

Huang refuted the speculation, saying that China would never waver from a defense policy that is defensive in nature.

"The Somali mission shows China's efforts to undertake its international obligations as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and our determination to preserve regional stability and peace. Of course, it also demonstrates our confidence in the PLA's handling of various security threats and accomplishing of diversified military missions," Huang said.

"But it never signaled that we were deviating from the defensive policy. We also tell the world candidly that the Chinese defense policy is always defensive in nature'," he said.

"A defensive policy has been consistent in China. It is decided by the national interest, social system, foreign policy and historical and cultural traditions of our country, and fits with the peaceful development of the world. It's not a makeshift stance, but something we will never change," Huang said.

The modernization of the Chinese armed forces is aimed at preserving national sovereignty, security and reunification of the country, he said.

"China has always advocated developing military cooperation and relationships based on principles of peaceful coexistence, characterized by non-alliance and non-antagonism," Huang said.

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