China's defence ministry made a thinly veiled attack on the United States on Tuesday for increasing tensions in the Asia-Pacific by ramping up its military presence and alliances in the region, days after the top US diplomat visited Beijing.
China is uneasy with what the United States has called the “rebalancing” of forces as Washington winds down the war in Afghanistan and renews its attention in the Asia-Pacific.
China says the policy has emboldened Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam in longstanding territorial disputes.
China faces “multiple and complicated security threats” despite its growing influence, the Ministry of Defence said in its annual white paper, adding that the US strategy meant “profound changes” for the region.
“There are some countries which are strengthening their Asia Pacific military alliances, expanding their military presence in the region and frequently make the situation there tenser,” the ministry said in the 40-page document, in a clear reference to the United States.
Such moves “do not accord with the developments of the times and are not conducive towards maintaining regional peace and stability”, ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told reporters.
The official People's Liberation Army Daily went further, saying in a commentary on Monday China needed to beef up its defences to deal with a hostile West bent on undermining it.
“Hostile Western forces have intensified their strategy to westernise and split China, and employed every possible means to contain and control our country's development,” it said.
On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry defended the re-orientation of US foreign policy towards Asia as he ended a trip to the region dominated by concerns about North Korea's nuclear program.