"The United States views the Asia-Pacific region as a top priority. Our policy is focused on the region and not on any one country in particular," George Little, the Pentagon press secretary told reporters during an off camera news conference.
"With respect to China, they have the right to develop military capabilities and plan just as we do and we repeatedly call for transparency from the Chinese and that's part of the relationship we are continuing to build with the Chinese military. That's important and transparency is the key," Little said.
The remarks came after the Chinese President Hu Jintao urged his navy to prepare for military combat and advance naval modernization as part of effort to safeguard world peace.
The navy should "accelerate its transformation and modernization in a sturdy way, and make extended preparations for military combat in order to make greater contributions to safeguard national security and world peace," Hu said in a speech.
China has the right to develop naval forces, said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt John Kirby.
"Our naval forces are ready," he noted. "The peaceful rise of China is a good thing for the region, is a good thing for the world. We continue to seek a better military relationship with China. We continue to pursue that. That is not only in their interest, ours but the entire world as well," Kirby said.