BEIJING — China’s rapidly developing defense capabilities are worrisome to the United States, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.
China has made strides in building a new stealth fighter jet, and Washington is also concerned about a new ballistic missile that could theoretically hit a US aircraft carrier nearly 2,000 miles out to sea. China has also apparently beaten US estimates to develop that weapon.
Gates arrived yesterday in Beijing for talks with Chinese leaders about these weapons and other military issues.
“They clearly have potential to put some of our capabilities at risk,’’ Gates told reporters traveling with him to Asia. “We have to pay attention to them; we have to respond appropriately with our own programs.’’
China is still years behind US capabilities in radar-evading aircraft, and even by 2025 the United States would still have far more such aircraft flying than any other nation in the world, Gates said.
China said that it does not pose a threat and that its military forces are purely for defense.