China is likely to set up military base in Pak: Pentagon

China is likely to set up military base in Pak: Pentagon

The Pentagon said the world can expect a more military-minded China to continue expanding its defence outposts outside its borders. Pakistan has also emerged as the biggest market for Chinese arms exports, a focus area in Beijing's expansion plans, the report titled "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2017", said.

China is likely to build more military bases overseas after establishing a facility in the African nation of Djibouti, the US Defense Department said, identifying Pakistan as a possible location.

China has termed the assessment "irresponsible".

China is undergoing a military modernization program that is targeting capabilities with the potential to degrade core USA military-technological advantages, states the report.

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But Pakistan, the USA report noted, was already the primary market in the Asian-Pacific region for Chinese arms exports. China's expanding global economic interests are increasing demands for the PLA Navy to operate in more distant maritime environments to protect Chinese citizens, investments and critical sea lines of communication (SLOC), it said. Other major Asia-Pacific customers of Chinese military equipment include Bangladesh and Burma, it said.

Beijing says it is "firmly opposed" to a Pentagon report that highlighted China's construction of military facilities on man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea and speculated that Beijing would likely build more bases overseas. "We hope the USA side will put aside the Cold War mentality, view China's military development in an objective and rational manner, and take concrete actions to maintain steady growth of the military relationship between the two countries", Hua said.

On the issue of self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own, the Pentagon said Chinese reforms to improve joint operations by different parts of its military would help in the event of any operation against the island.

However, officials admitted that figure could not account for all spending due to poor accounting transparency.

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Last year, China inked an agreement with Pakistan for the sale of eight submarines.

On the country's defence spending, the report said Chinese "officially-disclosed" military budget grew at an average of 8.5 per cent per year betweem 2007 and 2016, and Chinese leaders seem committed to increases in defence spending for the foreseeable future, even as China's economic growth slows. "It is a legitimate right of a sovereign state", Hua said, without mentioning the islands directly.

Last year, China identified cyberspace as a critical domain for national security and declared its intent to expedite the development of its cyber forces.

On the use of coercion, the Pentagon report noted that China engages in punitive trade policies and other measures to deter opposition to its actions. "But I would like to stress that as neighbours with traditional friendship, China and Pakistan have conducted broad co-operation in various fields for win-win results and mutual benefits for a long time".

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