Senior Japanese officials vying to succeed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi say China is a military threat and have brushed off a conciliatory gesture from Beijing, AP reported. Foreign Minister Taro Aso, having made a series of critical comments in recent months, criticised China's military spending and lack of transparency, echoing the US in that regard. "It's not clear what China is using the money for," he said on Japanese television. "This creates a sense of threat for surrounding countries." Chief Cabinet Spokesman Shinzo Abe rejected a Chinese offer of a high-level summit on the condition Koizumi stops visiting a controversial war shrine. President Hu Jintao proposed talks on condition Koizumi no longer insisted on paying his respects at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, where war criminals are among those honored. Relations continue to be badly strained despite Japan's reliance on China as an export destination.