Secretary Ash Carter made the remarks at a security dialogue in
Singapore this month, when the United States and Asia nations
put pressure on China to rein in its actions in the disputed
South China Sea.
Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said Carter's
comments had been noted.
"As for the Great Wall, those who have studied Chinese history
all know that it was defensive," Wu told a regular monthly news
"It was to keep out the cruel oppression of invaders, not
friendly envoys or free trade."
Wu also brushed off the isolation remark, saying China's friends
spanned the world and more and more countries supported its
position on the South China Sea.
"Individual countries cannot represent the international
community. If there are people who make false charges that
'China is isolating itself' to actually try to isolate China,
then that's simply flogging a dead horse."
Despite the tensions between China and the United States,
especially over the South China Sea, China has sent ships to
participate in a major U.S.-hosted naval drill, the Rim of the
Pacific exercise, or RIMPAC.
Wu said the Chinese flotilla had already arrived in Hawaii.
"We believe participation in the drill will help to steel and
raise our navy's ability to deal with non-traditional security
threats, and deepen China's professional exchanges and
cooperation with relevant countries."
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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