WASHINGTON, May 18 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Defense Department on Friday published its annual report on China's military and security developments in a continued Cold War-style practice once adopted by the United States toward then Soviet Union.
The report, though claimed "objective" and "factual" by the Pentagon, is ridden with speculative descriptions and even distorts the reality in a bid to depict China as a security and economic threat to the United States.
The report said China "periodically acts more assertively in pursuit of its strategic priorities," making an apparent reference to China's firm stance on protecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity in disputes concerning the South China Sea.
As a champion of good-neighbor diplomacy, China has been aspiring for peaceful development. When it comes to issues of sovereignty and national security, China stands firm just like any other member of the international community. What's the fault in that?
The Pentagon also expresses doubts about the transparency of China's defense spending, saying that estimating China's actual military expenditures "is difficult because of poor accounting transparency and China's still incomplete transition from a command economy."
Making such a statement, the report apparently ignores the fact that China has been publicizing its annual defense budget since 1978, which was included in the government's budget report to the National People's Congress every year. And since 1995, China has been releasing the complete data on defense spending in its annual White Paper on China's National Defense.
The most blatant distortion of facts is the report's accusation that "Chinese actors are the world's most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage" aimed at collecting U.S. technological and economic information.
Without providing any supporting evidence, the report went further to say that "China is likely to remain an aggressive and capable collector of sensitive U.S. economic information and technologies, particularly in cyberspace."
"Authoritative writings and China's persistent cyber intrusions indicates the likelihood that Beijing is using cyber network operations as a tool to collect strategic intelligence," the report said.
However, one can not help noticing that the credibility of these statements are substantially marred by such words as "likely," "indicates" or "likelihood," which testify to the ambiguity of the Pentagon report and expose its willful accusations against China, a country which has repeatedly opposed any unlawful practices in the use of cyberspace.
Ironic as it is, the Pentagon report was issued on the heels of Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie's visit to the U.S. last week, during which U.S. military officials loudly promised to seek a "healthy, stable, reliable and continuous" military-to-military relationship with China.
This Pentagon move once again highlighted the U.S.'s lack of credit in dealing with China, which has already been proven by its repeated failures to keep its formal promises regarding arms sales to Taiwan and high-level meetings with Dalai Lama, and by its continued interference in China's internal affairs under the guise of protecting human rights.
The U.S. practice of publishing an annual military report on the Soviet Union during the Cold War era was to exert pressure on and to contain its arch rival.
With the old days long gone and the United States now being the only super power, it's only logical for Uncle Sam to forsake its Cold War mentality.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was right when she said in a speech at the Naval Academy last month that "Today's China is not the Soviet Union. We are not on the brink of a new Cold War in Asia ... That requires adjustments in thinking and approaches on both sides."
Given the fact that China-U.S. ties have evolved beyond bilateral scope and now bear global significance, it's highly advisable for the United States to refrain from hurling mud at China and abandon such counterproductive Cold War-style practices of issuing annual reports on China's military and continuing arms sales to Taiwan.