Chinese General Offers Reassurances on Military Buildup

(Oct. 27) -U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, and Chinese Gen. Xu Caihou participate in a ceremony outside the Pentagon today. Xu yesterday sought to reassure Washington about his nation's growing military capabilities (Mark Wilson/Getty Images).
(Oct. 27) -U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, and Chinese Gen. Xu Caihou participate in a ceremony outside the Pentagon today. Xu yesterday sought to reassure Washington about his nation's growing military capabilities (Mark Wilson/Getty Images).

A high-ranking Chinese general visiting the United States sought yesterday to reduce concerns over his nation's accelerated buildup of its armed forces while at the same time defending its right to an adequate military capability, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Oct. 15).

Gen. Xu Caihou is expected to tour key U.S. defense sites and meet with Defense Secretary Robert Gates this week as part of an effort to foster greater cooperation and understanding between the militaries of the United States and China.

Beijing has no plans to increase its territory through military conquest; it instead desires cooperative relationships with other nations, according to the general.

"We will never seek hegemony, military expansion or an arms race," Xu said at a Washington think tank.

He defended Beijing's production of cruise and ballistic missiles with a range that would allow for strikes on U.S. navy vessels in the Pacific.

"It is a limited capability, and limited weapons and equipment for the minimum requirement of its national security," Xu said through an interpreter.

The United States has regularly called for Beijing to be more open about its military buildup and has cautioned that an alteration in the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region could result in confusion and the misinterpretation of Chinese intentions.

China's recent augmentation of its military forces was shown off at the beginning of the month with a large military parade in Beijing that included nuclear capable-missiles and drone aircraft.

Xu said the parade "was well received in international public opinion. However, I also noted some suspicion and misunderstanding in the press. Some reports were not objective enough" (Jim Mannion, Agence France-Presse/Google News, Oct. 27).

October 27, 2009
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A high-ranking Chinese general visiting the United States sought yesterday to reduce concerns over his nation's accelerated buildup of its armed forces while at the same time defending its right to an adequate military capability, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Oct. 15).