The Pentagon has again made China one of America's causes for anxiety, creating tension in the air in Washington.
In its annual report to Congress, the Pentagon said on Friday that China is modernizing its military with the option for surprise attacks, potentially far from its borders.
The Pentagon is worried that China is acquiring better missiles, submarines and aircraft. In fact, most of the world is sharpening its military edge in one way or another without necessarily planning to go to war.
The United States has long taken the lead, with military strength without rival.
However, the Pentagon cannot tolerate military modernization by countries not allied with the US.
China has been asked to fully explain the purpose of its military buildup, which the Pentagon considers a threat.
In fact, the Pentagon is not on firm footing in painting its picture of China's military.
The US has consistently criticized China for not being transparent about its military strategy. At the same time, it has ignored the reports China released.
The latest Pentagon report reflects both its deep distrust and bias against China.
The report concluded that China may engage in preemptive strikes, perhaps far from its borders, if the use of force protects or advances core interests, including territorial claims.
China has never launched preemptive strikes against any country. It is not part of its defensive military strategy.
China's code of conduct is: We will not attack unless attacked; if attacked, we will certainly counterattack.
Preemptive strikes top the US military strategy. The Pentagon is using its own mindset to probe the minds of others.
It refuses to understand China's strategy, which embraces the declared policy of never starting a nuclear war. With the Pentagon's limited thinking, it is likely to label many areas of the Chinese design as ambiguous. It is likely to conclude that China may be exploring "new options" provided by its military modernization.
Yes, China is exploring new options - for economic growth. It has been devoting substantial resources to social and economic progress, not to military buildup.
(China Daily May 28, 2007)