Ministry: Upgrade of arms won't alter policy

Updated: 2011-09-01 07:34

By Ma Liyao (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The modernization of China's armed forces will not alter the nation's defensive policy, and China's naval strategy will remain based on offshore defense, the Ministry of National Defense said on Wednesday.

China's first aircraft carrier has finished its first sea trial, which proceeded "as expected", ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said at a regular news conference.

"Commissioning an aircraft carrier is a long and complicated project. In this process, there will be a number of tests," Yang said, adding that the carrier is currently undergoing refitting and further tests.

China will not change its long-standing defensive policy because of new military equipment, he added.

In a recent report from the Pentagon on China's military development, the United States said China's increasing naval power and high-tech weaponry will extend its reach in the Pacific and beyond.

The development of China's armed forces targets no country or specific object, and it only serves to maintain national security, Yang said.

The annual Pentagon report also said that China's new advanced rocket systems were a "deterrent" against India and the "mistrust" between the two countries is leading to continued tension.

"The conclusion is totally groundless. China and India are not enemies, not opponents, but neighbors and partners," Yang said.

Those who are promoting such views are trying to stall the improving relationship between China and its neighbor, Yang said.

"In the past few years the two sides have been committed to developing a strategic partnership. And a wide range of exchange programs between the two sides have resulted in enhanced mutual understanding and mutual trust," he added.

This year China and India are celebrating the "China-India Exchange Year" with a series of programs to help them know each other better, including military exchanges.

With another neighbor, Vietnam, China is planning to set up a defense hotline as part of closer military links, Agence France-Presse reported.

Defense Minister Liang Guanglie met Vietnamese Vice-Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh on Monday, and pledged to solve disputes in the South China Sea through consultations and negotiation, Xinhua News Agency reported.

"The two sides also agreed on peaceful cooperation and to prevent outside provocation that could spoil the two countries' relations," Yang said.

Yang also expressed China's concern over the Japanese government's plan to put surveillance troops on southern prefecture of Okinawa, and to send self-defense troops to some nearby islands.

"The Japanese side should explain its real intentions behind its military buildup on those islands."

Yang added that since China and Japan are currently committed to building a mutually beneficial strategic relationship, Japan should work for that aim instead of going against it.