(From Reuters)

China’s Foreign Ministry expressed anger on Friday after the Pentagon’s updated National Military Strategy slammed Chinese claims in the South China Sea as aggressive and inconsistent with international law.

The Pentagon report said China has been raising "tension" in the Asia-Pacific region
The Pentagon report said China has been raising “tension” in the Asia-Pacific region

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the United States was pushing unfounded exaggerations.

“We express dissatisfaction and opposition towards the U.S. side’s report’s irrational exaggerations of China’s threat,” she told a daily news briefing.

“We have already clearly explained our stance on the issue of construction on islands and reefs in the South China Sea several times,” Hua added.

“We believe that the U.S. should abandon their Cold War mentality.”

In its report released on Wednesday, Pentagon said China has become increasingly assertive in the South China Sea, building artificial islands in areas where the Philippines and other countries have rival claims, sparking alarm regionally and in Washington.

“China’s actions are adding tension to the Asia-Pacific region,” it said making specific reference to China’s “aggressive land reclamation efforts” in the South China Sea.

“The probability of U.S. involvement in interstate war with a major power is assessed to be low but growing,” it further said.

Turning to Russia, it said Moscow has “repeatedly demonstrated that it does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors and it is willing to use force to achieve its goals.”

“Russia’s military actions are undermining regional security directly and through proxy forces.”

“Today’s global security environment is the most unpredictable I have seen in 40 years of service,” said General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in presenting the report.

Moreover, other military powers are taking advantage of the rapid spread of sophisticated technologies to diminish the technological edge the United States once enjoyed, he said.

“Future conflicts will come more rapidly, last longer and take place on a much more technically challenging battlefield,” he said. “They will have increasing implications to the U.S. homeland.”

The spread of advanced technologies around the globe is eroding competitive advantages long held by the United States, such as early warning and precision strike, the report said.

The report highlights the growing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities of Iran and North Korea, which are on a list of countries that pose “serious security concerns” to America and its allies.

Violent extremist groups like the Islamic State are coupling the use of readily available war-making technologies with their radical ideologies to destabilize entire countries and regions, the report said.

“Global disorder” is on the rise, it said.

Despite these growing threats, America’s military remains the most formidable worldwide, with an annual budget of about $600 billion that dwarfs that of any other nation.

(With reporting by AFP and dpa)

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