China’s Defense Ministry called the U.S. “the destroyer of world peace” on Sunday in response to a recent Pentagon report to Congress describing the threat of an expanding Chinese military.
In comments reported by the Associated Press, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Wu Qian said, “Many years of evidence shows that it is the U.S. that is the fomenter of regional unrest, the violator of the international order and the destroyer of world peace.”
The Chinese military spokesman went on to claim U.S. actions in Iraq, Libya and Syria, have resulted in the deaths of more than 800,000 people and the displacement of millions more people.
Qian said, “Rather than reflecting on itself, the U.S. issued a so-called report that made false comments about China’s normal defense and military construction.” Qian also called the Pentagon report a “wanton distortion” of China’s military goals.
The Sept. 1 Pentagon report warned China’s continued military growth has “serious implications for U.S. national interests and the security of the international rules-based order.”
Among the 200-page Pentagon report’s findings is that China has set a goal to transform its military units into “world-class” forces by 2049. The report says China’s ambitions for a “world-class” military suggest it aims to have a military that is “equal to—or in some cases superior to—the U.S. military, or that of any other great power that China views as a threat to its sovereignty, security, and development interests.”
The Pentagon report largely focuses on China’s military strategy towards Taiwan and states “[Chinese Communist Party] leaders view a divided China as a weak China, they argue that ‘full reunification’—unification with Taiwan on Beijing’s terms and completing Hong Kong and Macau’s integration by the end of 2049—is a fundamental condition of national rejuvenation.”
The Pentagon report also noted and China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has surpassed the U.S. Navy in terms of fleet size, with 350 active ships to 293 for the U.S., as of early 2020. The report also found China has amassed a large stockpile of land-based ballistic and cruise missiles projected and has one of the world’s largest forces of long-range surface-to-air missile systems. The report also protected China will at least double its nuclear arsenal within the next decade.
Qian said, “We call on the U.S. to view China’s national defense and military construction objectively and rationally, cease making false statements and related reports, and take concrete actions to safeguard the healthy development of bilateral military relations.”
The critical comments by Qian come amid increased tensions between the U.S. and China on a range of topics, including China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, expanded legislation over the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong, and increased naval activity in the disputed South China Sea. The Global Times, a Chinese state-run publication, similarly referred to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as an “enemy of world peace” in an April editorial article.