China hits out at Pentagon’s report on PLA

China’s defence ministry on Sunday blasted a critical US report on the country’s military ambitions, saying it is the US instead that poses the biggest threat to the international order and world peace.

The statement follows the September 2 release of the annual US defence department report to Congress on Chinese military developments and goals that it said would have “serious implications for US national interests and the security of the international rules-based order”.

Defence ministry spokesman Col Wu Qian called the report a “wanton distortion” of China’s aims and the relations between the People’s Liberation Army and China’s 1.4 billion people.

UK intel official: China, Russia key adversaries

In a rare media briefing, the chief of Britain’s Defence Intelligence on Sunday said China and Russia were key adversaries challenging the existing world order without promoting direct conflict and operating in the expanding grey zone between war and peacetime.

Lt Gen Jim Hockenhull said the UK’s adversaries are developing new ways of operating, backed up by cutting-edge military capabilities that leverage advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Australia defends raids on Chinese journalists

Australia’s home affairs minister Peter Dutton on Sunday defended the government’s right to intelligence raids to prevent foreign interference, after China condemned searches on the homes of its journalists working in Australia.

Dutton declined to directly confirm that the Chinese journalists were questioned by Australia’s intelligence agency in June, saying an investigation was still underway, but said there was some “activity” by the country’s intelligence agency.

Dutton also warned foreign journalists working in the country they might come under the scrutiny of federal agencies if they provide a “slanted view” of Australian affairs.

His comments come after the evacuation from China last week of Australian journalists Bill Birtles and Mike Smith, who sheltered in Australian diplomatic compounds after being questioned by police. Australian Cheng Lei, who works as a business anchor for CGTN, China’s English-language state broadcaster, earlier was taken into custody.

The US on Saturday called a decision by Beijing to impose restrictions on all American diplomats on Chinese soil an “escalation”. China had on Friday announced “reciprocal restrictions” against US diplomats in China and Hong Kong.

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