By Zhang Zhihao
The Ministry of Defense has accused the US of speculation over China's military development, playing up the so-called China threat, and disrupting cross-Straits relations.
"China is committed to peaceful development and defense-oriented security policies," ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in an online statement on Wednesday.
The statement came in response to the United States Department of Defense's annual report to the US Congress on China's military development, which was published on Tuesday.
In recent years, Wu said, the People's Liberation Army has actively participated in peacekeeping, escorts, disaster relief and other overseas missions.
The Chinese military has also enhanced public safety and received universal praise from the international community, he said, adding that the country "neither seeks military expansion nor a sphere of influence, and will always be a firm force in maintaining world peace".
Regarding the East China and South China seas, Wu said China will resolutely defend its national sovereignty and security, as well as regional peace. However, he said, the US has "intensified the situation" by continuing to strengthen military deployment in the region, dispatching ships and aircraft to conduct close-up reconnaissance.
The PLA's budget is public and transparent, while China's military reform and the development of military equipment and cyberspace security are reasonable and justified, he said, adding that accusations made in the US report are "pure speculation".
At the same time, China has noted the report includes a chapter on China-US military relations.
"Healthy and stable military relations are of mutual interest ... and require both sides to work together," Wu said. "We hope the US will view China's defense construction and military development in a rational and objective manner."