The United States should "shut up" with its concerns about China's growing military spending because the increase is no threat, a Chinese ambassador said Thursday.

Sha Zukang, China's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that American concerns about his country's growing military might were misguided.

"It's better for the U.S. to shut up," Sha said. "Keep quiet. It's much, much better."

Sha said the world need not worry about China's growing economic and military might because "China basically is a peace-loving nation."

"China's military buildup is not threatening anyone," Sha said. "This is a legitimate defense."

China's 2.3 million-member People's Liberation Army is the world's largest fighting force, and Beijing has alarmed its neighbors with double-digit percentage increases in military spending nearly every year for a decade.

U.S.-China military relations have been strained over a number of issues in recent years, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's push for Beijing to be more open about its defense priorities, its military budget and its nuclear arsenal.