China has hit back at the US over calls for greater transparency in Beijing's military spending.
China says it spent $36.6bn on its armed forces in 2006
It comes a week after US Vice-President Dick Cheney said China's military build-up and satellite tests were at odds with its stated peaceful aims.
A spokesman for the foreign ministry in Beijing accused the US of acting like a nosy neighbour.
China's policies were aimed only at defence, said Qin Gang, rejecting claims of opaque spending policies.
"What's your response if your neighbour keeps peeking into your house through a crack in the door and yelling 'Open the door, let's see what's inside'?" Mr Qin said.
"Will you call the police?"
Mr Cheney's criticism of Beijing came during a visit to Australia.
He said China's destruction of an inactive weather satellite last month, as well as its "continued fast-paced military build-up are less constructive, and are not consistent with China's stated goal of a peaceful rise".
Mr Cheney did have praise, however, for China's role in a nuclear deal with North Korea committing Pyongyang to shut down key nuclear facilities.
Beijing has said the anti-satellite test was for scientific purposes only, but critics saw it as a demonstration of China's growing military power.
Mr Qin sought to allay the fears over its military intentions.
"China adheres to peaceful development and advocates a harmonious society of lasting peace and common prosperity," he said.
"That's what has allowed China to win trust, co-operation and friends in the world."
China says its military budget rose by 14.7% last year to $36.6bn (£18.6bn), but the US and other observers believe the actual figure may be two or three times that amount.