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Beijing world threat

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Friday July 26, 1:50 PM
Beijing invites authors of critical US reports to visit China

China announced it wants to invite the authors of two US strategic reports labelling Beijing a threat to world peace to visit the country in an attempt to clear up "misconceptions".

The invitation -- yet another sign China is deeply angered by the reports, both released around a fortnight ago -- will be extended by the foreign affairs committee of the country's parliament, the National People's Congress.

"We'd like to invite them so they can look at China from a different perspective and address any misconceptions they have about the country," senior legislator Zeng Jianhui told Friday's official China Daily newspaper.

Some members of the US Congress simply "did not understand China well enough" lamented Zeng, chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee.

"They misunderstand the rise of China and we need to provide them with a chance to take a better look at our goodwill for world peace."

Beijing has appeared to work itself up into a state of annoyance in the weeks following the release of the reports, which were initially condemned in mainly restrained terms.

On July 12 a Pentagon study warned in stark terms that China was rapidly modernising its military with the goal of forcibly retaking Taiwan, estimating Chinese defence spending at more than three times what is officially admitted.

Three days later, a bipartisan report to the US Congress on the nation's China policy said Beijing views the United States as a declining power ripe for exploitation.

On Monday, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington slammed the notion that China was an emerging military threat, saying any risk to world peace came instead from those who "fabricated" such ideas.

The two studies "are not true to facts", Xie Feng told reporters, adding that the authors were stuck in a "Cold War mentality".

And on Thursday, a foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing condemned estimates in the Pentagon report that China's annual military spending is around 65 billion dollars a year, against a publicly-stated 20 billion.

This figures was "groundless and has ulterior motives," Kong Quan said in a statement run as the lead story in Friday's China Daily.

Legislator Zeng told the same paper he "recognised" it was hard for people in the United States to understand China, given a lack of knowledge and "unbalanced" media reporting about the country.

"But I do not want to see more quarrels provoked unnecessarily in a Cold War-style way," he said.

Some groups of US Congress members due to visit China in the coming months will be offered access to churches and prisons everywhere, including Tibet, he added.

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