A top Chinese general rejected growing American concerns about China's military buildup on Wednesday, telling audiences at the National Defense University and the Pentagon that the People's Liberation Army was no threat.
General Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, meets with Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff , in Washington after an armed forces full honor review ceremony on Tuesday to mark Chen’s visit to the US. [China Daily]
But Chen warned that new US weapons sales to Taiwan would damage military ties.
"As to how bad the impact will be, it will depend on the nature of the weapons sold to Taiwan," Chen told a Pentagon media briefing.
During his speech, Chen quoted US presidents including Abraham Lincoln and also turned to Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous quote "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Chen played down Chinese military advances on his trip, telling the audience of US military officers and faculty at the National Defense University the People's Liberation Army lagged at least 20 years behind developed Western nations.
"To be honest, I feel very sad after visiting (the United States), because I think, I feel and I know, how poor our equipments are and how underdeveloped we remain," Chen said.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US military's Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chen's host, stressed the importance of renewed dialogue to minimize the risk of misunderstanding.
"What he and I have both talked about is a future that is a peaceful future and a better one for our children and grandchildren. That does not include a conflict between China and the United States," Mullen told reporters.
Talking about fiscal constraints on China's military, Chen got a long round of laughter from his US audience by joking: "If you can lend us some money, I think that would be easier."