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Watch: After Shanahan's dig, China says pursuing policy based on defence

China says it values relations with US military despite Shanahan's reported comments Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Beijing, China Jan 03, 2019, 03.52 PM (IST)

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Thursday that Beijing values the current relations between the American and Chinese militaries, after acting US secretary of defence Patrick Shanahan reportedly told civilian leaders of the US military to focus on "China, China, China".

Speaking at a regular news conference in Beijing, Lu cast doubt on the validity of the reported comments by Shanahan before adding that the future of the two countries' military relations was for Beijing and Washington to decide.

"If what we mutually seek is a partner, then we will likely get a partner. If what we seek is an adversary, then we will certainly get an adversary," Lu said when asked about Shanahan's remarks.

Relations between the world's two largest economies have plumbed new depths under US President Donald Trump, with a trade war and disagreements over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

"In principle, all I want to say is that, for China, what we are pursuing is a national defence policy based on defence. We also prioritise developing cooperation between our armed forces and those of other countries, including America's," the foreign ministry spokesman said, adding, "We believe that this is conducive to promoting mutual trust and peace, enhancing relations between the two countries and contributing to world peace and stability.

"During the process of communications, the clear information that we have obtained from the US, is that the US - similar to China - highly prioritises the relations between the two militaries and hopes to work towards turning the relationship between the two militaries into a stable element of the relations between our two countries," Lu added.

Story highlights

Relations between the world's two largest economies have plumbed new depths under Trump, with a trade war and disagreements over Taiwan and the South China Sea.