- BEIJING (AP) -- China hinted on Monday that the United States was a potential
threat to its security, issuing its first public defense policy review
in three years.
- In the statement, China also renewed
a threat to retake Taiwan by force and criticized nuclear tests by India
- The Cabinet said China wants a stable
world order to pursue its primary goal of economic development. It noted
an overall easing of tensions worldwide, but the Cabinet said threats persist.
- Without naming names, the policy review
assailed "hegemonism" -- a euphemism for the United States and
its superpower status -- and the U.S. alliance with Japan.
- "Hegemonism and power politics remain
the main source of threats to world peace and stability," the policy
paper said. "Some countries, by relying on their military advantages,
pose military threats to other countries, even resorting to armed intervention."
- The policy review criticized, again without
specifying, the U.S.-Japan security treaty as "an infringement upon
and interference in China's sovereignty." Renewed treaty guidelines
issued last year drew Beijing's anger after a Japanese politician suggested
that the pact covered potential conflicts over Taiwan.
- China is sensitive about activities that
undermine its claim to Taiwan as a renegade province. Japan ruled the island
for 50 years until its defeat in World War II. The United States backed
the island through much of the Cold War and continues to sell it arms over
- In keeping with China's usually prickly
statements on Taiwan, the State Council renewed a pledge to seek peaceful
unification with the island but added that Beijing "will not commit
itself not to resort to force."
- If largely a recitation of long-held
and oft-repeated positions, China's first published defense policy review
since 1995 was notable for bringing a modicum of transparency to the largely
secretive workings of the world's largest standing army.
- While taking issue with India and Pakistan
for conducting nuclear tests, the State Council singled out New Delhi for
harsher treatment, criticizing it for "flagrantly" defying the
international community. Pakistan is a decades-old ally.
- Defense officials from the United States
and other countries have urged China to publish more information about
the People's Liberation Army more often to dispel suspicions about Chinese
- The policy paper provided some details
on a plan to trim the PLA by 500,000 to 2.5 million members. Overall the
army will shrink 19 percent, the navy 11.6 percent and the air force 11
percent, the paper said.
- It also released figures on conventional
weapons imports and exports registered with the United Nations between
1992 and 1996. The figures show, for example, China imported 48 aircraft
and two naval vessels, but the report does not provide details on the purchases.
- Offsetting the small steps toward openness,
the report does little to open the accounts of the PLA.