[QODLink]
Americas
Power politics in the Pacific
A report from aboard a US warship on China's naval assertiveness that is prompting regional and US concerns.
Last Modified: 29 Dec 2010 10:48 GMT

China's growing military assertiveness has alarmed its neighbours and prompted the US to keep a high profile on Asian waters. It has been pressing claims on disputed waters and seeking new weapons and warships. Liang Guanglie, the Chinese defence minister, said on Wednesday that the country's booming economy is driving its military might.

"In the next five years, our economy and society will develop faster, boosting comprehensive national power," Liang said. "We will take the opportunity and speed up modernisation of the military."

Liang said China's military would continue to advance its capability to fight and win high-tech wars, while also boosting its conventional arsenal.

He said the the 2.3-million-strong People's Liberation Army plans to do this all without foreign aid.

"We will stand on our own feet to solve the problem and develop our equipment," Liange said, "The modernisation of the Chinese military cannot depend on others, and cannot be bought."

China's increasing military spending has generated concern among its neighbours, but Chinese officials insist that they are only interested in peace and that its naval build-up is not a threat.

The US, however, sees Beijing as a potential threat to its once unrivalled dominance of the Pacific.

China ended military relations with Washington a year ago in protest against a multi-billion-dollar US arms package for rival Taiwan.

The two nations have since resumed low-level military contacts at a technical level, but Liange has invited his US counterpart, Robert Gates, for talks in Beijing from January 9-12 agains a backdrop of increased tensions in Northeast Asia.

Al Jazeera's Steve Chao joined the Seventh Fleet aboard the USS George Washington in the Pacific Ocean from where he filed this report.

Source:
Aljazeera
Topics in this article
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A former rebel's museum keeps alive memories of the July 26, 1953 veterans who launched Cuba's revolution.
A revolutionary new treatment is halving hospitalisation rates for severe asthma sufferers.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
join our mailing list