MILITARY

China says US report hypes up its so-called military threat

FILE - In this May 6, 2016, file photo, soldiers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy watch as the USS Blue Ridge arrives at a port in Shanghai. Seeking to calm escalating tensions in the South China Sea, top generals from China and the U.S. spoke by phone Thursday, May 12, 2016, and said they were ready to work out an effective mechanism to prevent confrontation and maintain stability in the region. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - In this May 6, 2016, file photo, soldiers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy watch as the USS Blue Ridge arrives at a port in Shanghai. Seeking to calm escalating tensions in the South China Sea, top generals from China and the U.S. spoke by phone Thursday, May 12, 2016, and said they were ready to work out an effective mechanism to prevent confrontation and maintain stability in the region. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

China's defense ministry says a U.S. report assessing its island-building efforts in the South China Sea has "hyped up" China's so-called military threat.

Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun says the U.S. Defense Department's annual report on China's military activities had "wilfully distorted China's national defense policy" and says the U.S. is too suspicious.

Yang said in a statement on the defense ministry's website late Saturday: "China follows a national defense policy that is defensive in nature."

The Pentagon report to the U.S. Congress on Friday said that China was focused on developing and weaponizing the islands it has built in the South China Sea so it will have greater control over the maritime region without resorting to armed conflict.