Aug. 30 (China Military Article cited from Xinhuanet and written by Yao Yunzhu) — On Aug 16, the United States Department of Defense (DOD) issued its annual report on China’s military power. As required by Section 1201 and 1202 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000, a report on the development of Chinese military power needs to be submitted to four US Congress committees every year.
According to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, this year’s report has been renamed the “2010 Annual Report to Congress on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China”. The change aims to reduce DOD workload by merging similar reports to the US Congress.
Compared with previous ones, the latest report has very few changes in content but the tone is less harsh. Apart from giving positive evaluations of China’s contribution to peacekeeping, humanitarian, disaster relief and counter-piracy operations, the report also stressed the importance of a stable bilateral military relation with China.
PLA Soldiers guarding before the U.S. EP-3C Aircraft
However, the 2010 report has evoked protests from China’s Ministry of National Defense and Foreign Ministry.
So, why does China oppose the report?
First, the US Congress had requested the DOD annual report at a time when Sino-US relations were in bad shape. The Cox Report, issued by Congress in 1999, accused China of spying and stealing US military technology. Sino-US relations suffered a setback after US combat aircraft bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. In an atmosphere hostile to China, Congress passed the act that has hindered Sino-US military exchanges and cooperation.
Eleven years after the act was passed, bilateral ties between China and the US have seen all-round development. Facts have proven time and again that long-term and stable relations cannot be separated from healthy and stable military relations, for which this act has always been a stumbling block. It requires an annual review of Chinese military power and the military balance across the Taiwan Straits, detailed examination of military to military exchanges, report of all the topics discussed and all the questions posed by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) delegations visiting the US, and above all, restricted military to military exchanges in 12 areas. With legal requirements like these, how can China see any friendly attitude, any prospect for real cooperation, or even any wish to promote mutual trust? Besides, it is unfair to subject military ties between two equal countries to legal restrictions that are imposed and interpreted by one of them.