The Pentagon Report and China’s Response
Debasish Chaudhuri

The release of Pentagon Report on China’s defense capability and its subsequent response from the PRC has become an annual ritual since year 2000. According to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2000, the Pentagon decided to publish such report for the first two decades of 21st century. For some unspecified reasons this year’s report titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2010 was published about five months after the usual timing. The People’s Daily dubs this as a reflection of American mentality of the Cold War period when the latter used to report on the Soviet military annually. The Chinese official press point out that America has been seeking another imaginary strategic enemy (战略假想敌) as a replacement of the Soviet Union ever since its collapse. It also elaborates that this year’s report reveals anxieties of the American defense establishment about China’s military modernization resulting from its rise as an economic power. As a proof of this mind set, according to Chinese, this report was made public within two days of extensive coverage of the news of China surpassing Japan as the second largest economy by the international media.
The Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman Geng Yansheng observes that the 2010 Pentagon Report ignores the objective reality by criticizing China’s normal military and defense buildup and excessively fabricating so-called military threat to Taiwan by the mainland China. According to this spokesman, China gives utmost value in developing relations between its military and that of America. Geng also insists that America should stop issuing such report as it creates obstacles in furthering such relations. The Foreign Ministry Spokesman Jiang Yu responds on similar lines and asserts that America is trying to spread the theory of China’s military threat by giving exaggerated report on China’s military capability.
It appears that the change of title of the Pentagon Report (in the previous years it used to be The Military Power of the People’s Republic of China) created mixed responses in the media. According to an official news, America has tried to subdue confrontational tone of the report by adding the content of China’s ‘security development’ and quoting from President Obama’s speech that ‘the notion that we must be adversaries in not predestined’. It is also noted that the report has mentioned about the changes of China’s military thinking and its defense posture. Chinese media also question the validity of America alleging that the lack of transparency in China’s military and security affairs enhances uncertainty and increases potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation. Wen Bing, a scholar of Chinese Academy of Military Sciences contends that transparency is a relative term and transparency in China’s military should not be assessed in terms of American standards.
Wen Bing further comments on alleged strategic indecisiveness as the Pentagon Report speculates that China might abandon peaceful path of development due to reasons namely, its nationalistic aspiration, need for economic development, internal political pressures, the Taiwan situation, regional security etc. He refutes this view and reiterates that China would always persist with defensive national defense policy (防御性国防政策). Wen Bing assures that it is a solemn pledge (郑重承诺) of the Chinese people and government to the world that they will never vacillate from the course of peaceful development.
Unlike previous years, the Chinese experts on military affairs seems to be careful in using strong language and are trying to give a balanced opinion about this year’s Pentagon Report. Li Daguang, a scholar from Chinese National Defense University views that this report is less subjective and the Cold War vocabulary is not so disagreeable.
Sources:
Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2010
一份报告,显示美国对华政策多重心思本报驻美国记者
http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2010-08/18/nw.D110000renmrb_20100818_3-03.htm?div=-1
外交部国防部表示中方坚决反对
http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2010-08/19/nw.D110000renmrb_20100819_3_02.htm?div=-1
五角大楼发布中国军力报告称中美并非注定是敌人
http://news.ifeng.com/mil/4/detail_2010_08/17/1966535_0.shtml
美国对华军力报告突出中国军力建设超越国界
http://mil.huanqiu.com/Observation/2010-08/1023783.html
中国就美国涉华军事报告提出交涉
http://www.shxb.net/html/20100819/20100819_251624.shtml
美国是现实主义者 对华军力 “调门” 没降低
http://mil.huanqiu.com/Observation/2010-08/1023855.html

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