• Fri
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Updated: 6:15pm

US's Hagel backs Japan and tells China to stop 'destabilising actions'

US defence secretary warns China against any restrictions on air and sea travel, but PLA chief accuses him of 'duet' with Japanese PM Abe

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 May, 2014, 10:28am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 June, 2014, 12:51pm

The defence chiefs of China and the US engaged in a blunt exchange of words at an Asian security forum yesterday.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that Washington "will not look the other way" if Beijing seeks to restrict air traffic or freedom of navigation at sea.

Watch: US accuses China of 'destabilising' acts in South China Sea

PLA deputy chief of general staff Wang Guanzhong hit back, saying Hagel's speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore was a "duet act" with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose speech at the event on Friday attracted a similar retort from Beijing.

The exchange highlighted the growing tensions in East Asia, where increasingly aggressive behaviour by rival claimants to maritime territories is raising concerns.

Hagel accused China of destabilising the South China Sea, and gave a robust reassurance of America's commitment to the Asia-Pacific. Washington's rebalancing, or pivot, towards the region, he said, was not a promise, but "a reality".

"We also oppose any effort, by any nation, to restrict overflight or freedom of navigation, whether from military or civilian vessels, from countries big or small," Hagel said. "The United States will not look the other way when fundamental principles of the international order are being challenged."

In November, China declared an air defence zone over the East China Sea - without consulting its neighbours - and said foreign aircraft entering it must tell Chinese authorities their flight plans.

Ties between Washington and Beijing were strained last month when US prosecutors charged five PLA officers with cyberespionage. Hagel said the US would continue raising cybersecurity with China, "because dialogue is essential for reducing the risk of miscalculation and escalation in cyberspace".

A source close to the US government said there was pressure within the administration for Hagel to make stronger references to the cybersecurity issue. However, Yang Yujun, a spokesman for China's defence ministry, said the matter was not raised during a meeting yesterday between Hagel and Wang.

Speaking to Chinese media, Wang said Hagel's speech was "full of hegemony" and threats, and could cause instability in the region.

"Secretary Hagel's speech reminded me of Abe's speech last night. I feel that they are singing a duet," Wang said.

In his keynote speech on Friday night, Abe said Japan could play a more proactive security role in the region.

Wang told Hagel his speech was "more frank than he had expected". But he added: "Although I think your comments, or rather your criticisms, on China were groundless, frankly expressing your views is not necessarily a bad thing."


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

China should take the Diaoyu Islands by force now and see how far the Americans would go to back up their words for a few islands. Obama will back off. He cannot take the USA to war, not with China anyways, and hand the 2016 election to the warmongers of the GOP.
He sure had to wipe his pants after Syria deployed chemical weapons...
All of you who hates the US so much is based solely on its foreign affairs/policies and the recent of the backlashes of its NSA eavesdropping scandals. It's all rhetorics of the same old. How about asking yourself what's it like living in that country ? You don't have the faintest idea because you've never been there let alone lived there. You can keep telling yourself who wants to be in a country that is run by the Devil or be associated with infidels or simply because you're all Maoists by default because HK wave the communist flag after its return to China. The main reason is because you are stuck here and many of us aren't. Tough luck. The grapes are sour.
All I care is to live in a country where I could raise my family in a true democratic environment where we could say and express our opinions without getting locked up, provided with world class education, having one best medical service in the world, practice whatever religion we so pleased, able to mortgage a HOUSE and not get cramped in a cage, don't have to bribe my way through life, don't have to become a workaholic in order to put bread and butter on the table, retired at age 62 with full pension, last but not least, the air is fresher. It's not just the states but many allied countries provide similar if not the same
So do all of yourselves a favor if you're truly patriotic with the hammer and sickle, embrace those tourists that defecate, eat tainted food, praise censorship and unlearn English.
So you are not living in HK. Curious why you read a HK local paper. If you live in HK, I cant image how painful you are, particularly there is no escape.. Of milllions of mainland tourists, only one toddler defecated in the street and you fatasise the streets filled by defecating tourists. Thats really painful . If you are really in HK, try every means to run away, then both you and HK will be happier.
No, man. US bashing is free. That's it. China bashing carries a cost.
Look at director Zhang Yi-mou. His earlier films (his best work "To Live") were banned because China didn't like them. So he took a turn and made "Hero" and "Curse of the Golden Flowers" with themes that were music to Beijing's ears. "Hero" explicitly said authoritarian rule is the way to rule. In "Curse of the Golden Flower" Emperor Chow Yun-fat said to Jay Chow (his son) "You don't ask me for power. Power is something I give you". WOW, two months later, Politboro member and former Shanghai mayor Wu said the similar thing to the people of HK.
Then what happened next? We all knew who was the director of the grandeur opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
So I am really surprised and excited Zhang made "Coming Home".. So symbolic.
US is struggling like a desperate/drowning animal trying so hard to stay afloat. It violates all human rights to spy every single person on earth. It tries so hard to cause all other countries into chaos - so it can sell its weapons to make big profits. Meanwhile millions in the world have been killed or permanently injured - on a daily basis. It still tries hard to be the leader of the world - without the substance to become one. It's society is embedded with zillion of problems and caused financial depression to the world. It feels so bad to look at China is soon to be #1 world economic power and is going to surpass it with flying colour. The recent $400 billion gas deal between China and Russia, is really killing it. It knows very well that this deal is only the beginning - and there are tens of those economic and military deals are lining for completion. Russia and China are there to destroy the conspiracy set up by US and its doggy proxies - Oriental Nazi Japan, Poor Philippines, and surely Vietnam.
Masako Owada
The US and Al Qaeda is basically the same.
Actually, I always thought of Obama as having ties to Al Queda..............he just trims his hair short enough so that his resemblance to Bin Laden is a bit less.
Formerly ******
China ain't a power; it's a paper tiger. Does it have enough unpolluted water for even quenching its people's thirst, let alone true industrial development? Does it have enough arable land to feed itself? Does it have enough energy to be energy self sufficient?
For the US, the answer to all of these questions is yes; in fact, the US can feed the entire world. For China, the answer is no. This kind of settles which country is a real power and which is a paper tiger.
This is why China is trying to take over all of Asia. Japan recognized that it, too, is a resource-poor country and tried to resolve it with the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere farce. China is trying the same tactic, sans the obviousness of the Japanese, but with the same obliviousness of the Japanese.
中國不是電源 ;它是一隻紙老虎。它有足夠沒有污染的水,甚至淬火及其人民的渴望,更遑論真正的工業發展嗎?它有足夠的可耕地養活自己嗎?它有足夠的能量將能源自足嗎?
對美國而言,所有的這些問題的答案是肯定的 ;事實上,美國可以養活整個世界。對於中國來說,答案是沒有。
這就是為什麼中國正試圖接管所有的亞洲。日本承認它也是一個資源貧乏的國家,試圖解決這個問題的大東亞共榮圈鬧劇。中國正在相同戰術,san 顯著性的日本人,但與日本人的同一遺忘.
P Blair
The US and Japan. What a pair! one the mother of all lies, the other the mother of all provocateurs. Both should go to hell.




SCMP.com Account