POSTED: 3:37 a.m. HST, May 19, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 9:33 a.m. HST, May 19, 2012
BEIJING >> China on Saturday rejected an annual Pentagon report that said Beijing is aggressively modernizing its military forces.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the report made irresponsible statements about China's legitimate defense development and falsely claimed that the country presented a military threat.
"China is developing its limited military forces only to protect its national independence and sovereignty," Hong said. "No country needs to worry if it harbors no hostility toward China."
This year's report, which was released Friday, describes an ambitious, fast-growing Chinese military program aimed at transforming the People's Liberation Army into a modern force. It says its main goals include preserving Communist Party rule and preparing for possible hostilities with Taiwan.
The report, which in past years also drew critical reviews in Beijing, was shorter than earlier versions and struck a measured tone. The Pentagon said it was meant to present data in a "descriptive, analytical manner."
Hong demanded that the United States stop issuing the reports.
"We ask the United States to respect facts, change its mindset and stop the wrong act of issuing such annual reports and instead do more to improve the relationship between the U.S. and Chinese militaries and promote trust," Hong said.