"The Chinese army is becoming more open and transparent and this refutes the 'China threat' thesis," Peng Guangqian, major general of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), said.
Major General Peng made the comment at the one-day military exercise code-named "North Sword 2005" held on Tuesday in a training base in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
40 military officers from 24 nations were invited to watch the exercise at the Zhurihe training base, a tactical drill base in north China. This is the largest number of observers that China has invited.
The exercise epitomizes China's sincere wish to safeguard world peace and stability and its willingness to help enhance mutual trust and understanding and ease suspicion, said Peng, who is also a research fellow with the PLA Academy of Military Sciences.
This is an important multilateral military exchange activity with the largest number of foreign observers since the founding of new China in 1949, according to sources with the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.
This was the fifth time that China had invited foreign observers to watch military exercises since 2000. The North Sword 2005 drill involved approximately 16,000 soldiers.
"The facts prove that China is not a threat to any country. Instead, China is a major force in safeguarding world peace and stability," Peng said.
China holds military exercises in order to improve training and combat capabilities, and these are not aimed at specific targets, Peng added.
Exercises such as North Sword 2005 give other countries the opportunity to understand the Chinese army, including training and combat information that used to be confidential, Peng acknowledged.
China has also increased its transparency in the military arena, releasing four white papers on defense policy, military strategic guidelines and military modernization.
"The 'China threat' rhetoric collapses on itself in the face of these gestures," Peng stressed.
(Xinhua News Agency September 28, 2005)