The Pentagon is nearly two months late in releasing its 2010 report on China's military buildup, and defense officials say the White House is holding up the release.
According to the officials, National Security Council aides are opposed to publishing new details on China's decade-long buildup of new strategic and conventional missiles, aircraft, warships and other high-tech weapons that the White House deems "provocative."
Instead, NSC aides are insisting on inserting language into the annual "Military Power of the People's Republic of China" report to highlight U.S.-China military "cooperation."
The new language in the Defense Authorization Act requires future reports to include data on "United States-China engagement and cooperation on security matters." The language also softened the report by eliminating all references to China's "grand strategy" and its plans for "preemptive strikes" in an effort to play down Beijing's capabilities.
Those changes coincided with lobbying efforts since 2008 by a U.S.-China group called the Sanya Initiative, led by China's former military intelligence chief, retired Lt. Gen. Xiong Guangkai, and involving a small group of retired U.S. military officers.
The group stated in its 2008 report that after meeting in the Chinese resort island town of Sanya that "American generals" had agreed to ask the Pentagon to delay release of the military power report that year and to avoid "exaggerated" reports on China's military buildup.