Beijing China denounced a U.S. government report that Beijing wants to expand its regional military power, insisting Wednesday it is no threat to its neighbors and accusing Washington of looking for excuses to sell weapons to rival Taiwan.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it filed a protest with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing over the Pentagon report.
"The report has baselessly attacked China's modernization of its national defense," Deputy Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in a statement, accusing Washington of looking for "an excuse to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan."
The Pentagon report said Chinese military planners are looking at expanding beyond their immediate goal of dominating Taiwan, the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing as its own territory. It said that in the long term, an increasingly modern Chinese military could pose a threat to U.S. and other forces.
"Some of China's military planners are surveying the strategic landscape beyond Taiwan," said the annual assessment of China's military strength.
Earlier today, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said China is intent on "developing in a peaceful way" when asked about the U.S. report.
"Not only is China not a threat to anyone, but we would also like to make friends with people in every country," Li said.
Beijing is modernizing its arsenal with fighter jets, submarines, missiles and other high-tech weapons - many of them bought from Russia - to back up its frequent threats to attack Taiwan.
China's short-term goal remains deterring Taiwan from pursuing formal independence and eventually uniting the island with the mainland, the Pentagon report said.
Yang's statement affirmed that Beijing wants to unite peacefully with Taiwan. But he also repeated its warning that Beijing "will never tolerate Taiwan independence and will never allow anyone in any way to split Taiwan from China."