The new commander of US forces in the Pacific said he aims to build friendships in China, but added Saturday that the communist power's recent anti-satellite missile test appears to contradict its claim of a peaceful military rise.
Adm. Timothy Keating said he met with Gen. Guo Boxiong, China's top general, and Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei, in meetings aimed at "developing and reinforcing" friendships.
But in his meeting with Guo, Keating said they exchanged views on Beijing's anti-satellite test in January, when a missile was used to destroy one of its own old weather satellites in low-Earth polar orbit. It was the first time China had successfully tested an anti-satellite system.
"An anti-satellite test is not necessarily a clear indication of a desire for peaceful utilization of space," Keating told reporters at a briefing. "It is a confusing signal, shall we say, for a country who desires, in China's words, a peaceful rise."
He said the US was watching "with interest" as China developed its capabilities across the spectrum of military operations.