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US in 'no position' to query China's military spending
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The United States should put its own house in order before pointing the finger at other nations, a Chinese analyst said on Friday in response to remarks on the modernization of Beijing's military by Barack Obama's choice for the Pentagon's second-ranking job.

William Lynn, who is set to become deputy secretary of defense on Tuesday, said on Thursday that the US should be concerned about China's military modernization.

"The pace and scale of modernization, coupled with the lack of transparency surrounding both capabilities and intentions, are a source of concern for the US as well as for its allies and the region more broadly," Lynn said in an interview.

The US should retain an "edge in areas that are critical to achieving specific operational objectives", he said.

"I will look to engage in a wide range of areas where we can encourage China to act responsibly both regionally and globally," he said.

The former executive of the world's biggest missile-maker Raytheon, Lynn will be the top civilian assistant to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Shi Yinhong, a professor of Sino-US relations at the Renmin University of China, said Lynn is repeating a common mistake of Pentagon officials.

"It is the Pentagon's institutional culture to start from military capability and threat," he told China Daily on Friday.

The problem is they equate military capability with strategic intent, he said.

China's military modernization is required for its national defense purposes, but Beijing's pursuit of peace and development remains unchanged, he said.

"The US is viewing China's military power through a magnifying glass," Shi said.

Responding to the Lynn's comments about China's lack of transparency, he said "the US should first examine its own problems".

Not counting spending on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US has spent an average of $400 billion a year on its military since 2003, according to figures from the center for defense information.

In contrast, China's military spending last year was 417 million yuan ($61 million), according the Ministry of National Defense.

"The US is not that transparent, and many are guessing what it will do with such a strong military capability," Shi said.

(China Daily January 17, 2009)


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