China sends Secretary of Defense Esper a chilly message
China’s state-run media outlet, Xinhua, sent a message to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper from a People’s Liberation Army spokesman, accusing him of having a “Cold War mentality.”
“A Chinese military spokesperson has slammed as unfounded a recent article by U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper against the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA),” reported China’s news agency.
In an editorial for the Wall Street Journal that ran in late August, Esper said that China had plans for military expansion and was becoming a global threat based on statements by the Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping:
“Mr. Xi called for transforming the PLA into a world-class military, one that can further the party’s agenda far beyond China’s shores. His remarks serve as a stark reminder that we have entered a new era of global competition between the free and open international order and an authoritarian system fostered by Beijing,” Esper wrote in the Journal.
A spokesman for China’s military fired back that Esper was living in the past:
“The article was full of Cold War mentality and ideological bias, groundlessly misrepresented the PLA, and hyped up the so-called ‘Chinese military threat,’” Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense, said Sunday,” reported Xinhua.
However, China’s saber-rattling and military expansion throughout the South China Sea has driven other nations in the region to seek military support from the U.S.
“The PLA is not a military that serves the nation, let alone a constitution, as the U.S. armed forces do. The PLA belongs to—and serves—a political entity, the Chinese Communist Party. A more capable PLA is a military more able to advance the party’s domestic vision, the one-sided international system Beijing desires, and an economic and foreign-policy agenda that is often inimical to the interests of the U.S. and our allies,” according to Esper.
China says the U.S. should stay out of its internal affairs:
“Voicing firm opposition to the article, Ren said facts have proved that any attempt to sever the close ties between the Chinese military and the people is doomed to fail.
“China’s Constitution has made it clear that the Chinese armed forces belong to the people. Led by the CPC, the PLA shares the purpose of the Party, which is to wholeheartedly serve the people, Ren said,” according to Xinhua.
Esper’s editorial called for greater isolation of China due to its aggressive posture and bellicose military objectives:
“As a consequence, all nations that seek the prosperity and security of a free and open order must carefully consider the implications of PLA requests for access, training and technology.”
While China seems to acknowledge some tension with its neighbors, the spokesman asserts that China has an important role in the future of global politics:
“Calling the U.S. attempt to play up regional tensions and sow discord between China and other countries in the region a pipe dream, Ren said the Chinese armed forces will continue to play their due role in building a world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.”
The Trump administration has stressed that China is the most critical threat facing the U.S.
PHOTO: Xinhua/ via Getty Images
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