China is a “role model” in observing international rules and in shunning the use of force in protecting its interests and sovereignty, according to Beijing’s foreign ministry on Wednesday.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference, “China develops its national defense strength independently… commensurate with the growth of its national power, the purpose of which is to better safeguard its own sovereignty, security, and development interests and maintain global and regional peace and stability.”
Beijing’s statement was in response to an observation raised in a report by the United States Department of Defense.
The observation, which was contained in a report titled “Assessment on U.S. Defense Implications of China’s Expanding Global Access,” said the primary driver for China’s military modernization is Beijing’s attempt to “eventually compel Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland.” Taiwan is considered by China as a renegade province.
The report was published by the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Hua said Beijing found the report baseless, speculative and highly ridiculous.
He also said China hopes the U.S. would respect and observe international rules rather than find fault in a friendly country and fabricate excuses to justify its own projection of military might or even its use of lethal force to obtain its goals.
“In fact, as you may have all noted, even for a country as militarily powerful as the U.S., it cannot have its way in everything it does,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said.
China, in spite of causing regional tensions due to its militarization of the South China Sea, insists it is “always a builder of world peace, contributor to global development, and defender of international order,” he argued.
Hua said the U.S. report created “unwarranted speculations and comments on China’s development path, strategic intention, and national defense.”
China’s improved military force and growing economy make it capable of projecting its presence across the globe.
It has also rattled its neighboring countries with its expanding military presence in the South China Sea, especially the Philippines which has witnessed China seize a large part of its territory in the West Philippine Sea.
In 2016, an international tribunal based in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines, invalidating China’s claim in the South China Sea and reaffirming Manila’s own maritime entitlements.