US biggest ‘threat’ to China, says top Chinese military expert

April 26th, 2010 - 10:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, April 26 (IANS) The US is the greatest “perceived threat” to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and cross-Straits relationship was the most likely subject to provoke a China-US war, a top Chinese military strategist has said.
“The US is the only country capable of threatening China’s national security interests in an all-round way,” Rear Admiral Yang Yi, former head of strategic studies at the PLA’s National Defence University, said last week to a group of visiting senior US officials.

“Japan has no such ability, while Russia has no such motivation and India is more worried about China,” Yang said while addressing delegates at the weeklong US-China Government Executive Global Leadership Course that concluded last Friday.

Yang said Beijing was hoping to maintain and develop a stable and healthy relationship with Washington but it also needed to make necessary preparations for any possible threat.

“Fortunately, the risk of a Sino-US confrontation is decreasing due to the relaxation of the Taiwan question,” China Daily reported Sunday quoting Yang.

He said the Taiwan question would be solved politically rather than militarily, adding the cross-Straits relationship would become even more stable and secure if it continued to develop positively over the next five to 10 years.

Talking about US arms sales to Taiwan, Yang said: “Those weapons will be ours sooner or later.”

The 17-member US group included directors of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Defence Department and Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

This is the first time that Washington has sent senior government officials to Beijing to engage their Chinese counterparts in a comparative educational dialogue.

Sun Zhe, director of Tsinghua University’s Centre for US-China Relations who planned the course two years ago, said Yang had answered the questions in a frank manner.

“A US navy official in charge of intelligence asked the question and he quickly responded that it was the same case for China about the US,” Sun said, adding it is very unique for naval officials from the two sides to exchange thoughts so honestly.

According to Sun, the frank communication was not intended as a threat, but that it would help the two powers to avoid strategically misjudging the other.

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