BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhua) -- A spokesperson for China's top legislature on Tuesday defended the country's defense policies, saying that peace can only be preserved with strength.
Responding to a question concerning China's growing military power, Fu Ying, spokesperson for the second session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC), said China as a major power is responsible for regional peace and security.
But "based on our history and experience, we believe that peace can only be maintained by strength," she told a press conference.
China' s military spending has long been cited as a cause for concern in western countries.
"We have heard such concerns... Indeed, certain countries have been selling the idea of China as a major threat," Fu told the press conference, "But we Chinese might ask, can a prosperous country such as China really achieve peace without a strong national defense?"
The spokeswoman had made similar comments in various occasions. "It's not good news to the world that a country as large as China is unable to protect itself," earlier reports quoted Fu as saying last year.
At Tuesday' s press conference, Fu said China, whose defense policy is entirely defensive in nature, has never treated any country as an enemy or a threat.
Cooperation is the main theme of China' s relations with its neighboring countries, she said, adding that China has always advocated peaceful solutions to territorial and maritime disputes with other countries.
"For disputes which cannot be settled in the short term, we could always set them aside, or negotiate joint development plans," said Fu, who added that a country's military power should be viewed in terms of its future policy trends.
However, China will "respond effectively" to provocations by those ready to sabotage regional security and order "for the sake of China' s own territorial sovereignty, as well as for the protection of regional order and peace," she said.
Commenting on the U.S. pivot to Asia, Fu said although the U.S. had repeatedly stress that it does not have a specific strategy to contain China and that it had not target China, "we still have to see whether its words match its deeds."
"It is my understanding that both China and the U.S. are willing to expand cooperation, and we sincerely hope that interactions between China and the U.S. in Asia are cooperation-oriented on a general term," she said.
The second session of the 12th National People's Congress will convene on Wednesday.