Monday, January 14, 2008

Chinese Military Build Up? Nah.

BEIJING—China's top general sought to allay U.S. concerns Monday about his country's military buildup, but defended a decision late last year to deny Hong Kong port calls by an American aircraft carrier and other navy ships.

Gen. Chen Bingde, in charge of day-to-day operations for the 2.3 million-member People's Liberation Army, offered no new explanations as to why Beijing turned away the U.S. ships, a move that sparked consternation at the Pentagon.

"The distance between China and U.S. militaries is big. ... We don't have the ability to make you afraid of us," Chen, chief of the general staff, said at the beginning of talks at the Defense Ministry with Adm. Timothy Keating, the top U.S. commander in the Asia-Pacific region. - Associated Press

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