China's military build-up has rattled nerves around the region, particularly because China has taken an increasingly assertive stance in its territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas. Fu dismissed these concerns, saying China had never harmed anyone.
"Look at the past decade or so, there have been so many conflicts, even wars, around the world resulting in serious, large numbers of casualties and loss of property, so many refugees destitute and homeless. Which one has China caused?" she said. The defense budget figure for last year, 954.35 billion yuan ($138.4 billion), likely understates its investment, according to diplomats, though the number is closely watched around the region and in Washington for clues to China's intentions.