BEIJING, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Wednesday slammed U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper's recent allegations about the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China in an article published on a U.S. media outlet.
"Esper's allegations are totally groundless," spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a daily press briefing in response, adding large numbers of facts and statistics are more than enough to debunk and shatter such lies and fallacies about the so-called "China threat."
Zhao said since 1990, the Chinese military has taken part in more than 20 United Nations peacekeeping missions, and sent 40,000-plus military personnel, making China the largest contributor of peacekeeping troops among the five permanent members of the Security Council.
Meanwhile, in the 240-plus years since its founding, the United States has only seen 16 war-free years, said Zhao, adding its military budget for 2019 exceeded 716 billion U.S. dollars, equivalent to the combined military spending of the nine countries trailing the United States.
While noting China pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, Zhao said that both the Constitution of the Communist Party of China and the Constitution of the People's Republic of China clearly stipulate that China adheres to the path of peaceful development and opposes hegemony.
"I wonder if the United States can make such policy announcements," said Zhao.
"Which country possesses hundreds of military bases around the world, illegally waged war and military operations against countries such as Iraq, Libya and Syria, and sent ships to and planes over far-flung waters to flex their muscles?" Zhao asked. "Which country, obsessed with a Cold War mentality, quitted treaties and multilateral organizations and wielded sticks and fists like crazy, and arbitrarily disrupted global rules?"
"We can get the right answer as long as some U.S. politicians respect the facts," added the spokesperson. Enditem