China warns US against military focus in Asia

China`s likely next leader Xi Jinping warned the United States against plans to boost its military strength in Asia.

Washington: China`s likely next leader Xi
Jinping warned the United States against plans to boost its
military strength in Asia as he prepared for a closely watched
visit to Washington starting Monday.

China`s vice president, who is tipped to rule the rising
Asian power until 2023, called on the United States to
prioritise economic growth and promised anew that Beijing
would address foreign concerns about its currency`s value.

In a written interview with The Washington Post, Xi said
the Pacific Ocean had "ample space" for both China and the
United States but insisted that Asian countries were concerned
foremost with "economic prosperity."

"At a time when people long for peace, stability and
development, to deliberately give prominence to the military
security agenda, scale up military deployment and strengthen
military alliances is not really what most countries in the
region hope to see," Xi said.

"We welcome a constructive role by the United States in
promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region. We
also hope that the United States will fully respect and
accommodate the major interests and legitimate concerns of
Asia-Pacific countries," he said.

US President Barack Obama, while seeking to trim vast
military spending in response to budget pressure, has vowed to
boost power in Asia where a number of nations have voiced
concern at what they charge is a more assertive China.

The United States has moved in recent months to send
troops to Australia and the Philippines. It has also sought to
increase military ties with Vietnam and Singapore, while
maintaining longstanding bases in Japan and South Korea.

Today, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin
emphasised the importance of trust between the two countries.

"We always believe that the two countries are not rivals
but cooperation partners," he told reporters, after Xi left
Beijing for the United States.

"China is committed to the road of peaceful development.
China`s development is an opportunity for the US and other
countries, instead of a threat."

The Obama administration has tried to build personal
bonds with Xi in hopes of future cooperation. China starts its
power transition later this year, with Xi widely expected to
succeed President Hu Jintao in 2013.

Xi arrives today and will enjoy a welcome tomorrow at the
White House, including a meeting with Obama. He will also stop
at the Pentagon for talks billed by US officials as
significant in building military trust.


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