• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46am

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

Max Diethelm
US’s Hagel and the US have become mad. Talks like a mad dog just like his psychopath pet comfort-man Shinzo Abe.
who died and made the usa the global policeman? why do they want to get involved in everyone's affairs when they cant eve sort out their own country's problems?
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.
Pick up your sack and go back to your 7000 miles home and fix up your own never-ending problems in education - US students are on the bottom in math, science, English in global assessment tests; in economy - still in recession stage with a meager 1.5% growth; in transportation infrastructure - VP Joe Biden said " I am feeling I am in a 3rd world country" when arriving in New York LaGuardia Airport; in international front - stirring up too many problems in the world like infiltration the Ukraine, aid the rebels in Syria, created so many recent wars - Afgan, Iraq, Baltic, Libya - millions of people have been killed, or still dying on a daily basis. Besides, millions have been injured and families got destroyed. Do not come to Asia and preaching or bull-shitting about this once peaceful region. You are the one BIG Destabilizer in the whole wide world. Only people in Oriental Nazi Japan, the bananas in Philippines, and the crazy monkeys in Vietnam; will believe your words.
I Gandhi
The US venom against China is without any moral or sensible foundation. It is based on the desire for the US to regain advantage over what the US considers is her strategic competitor China. While the US have been involved in murderous and destructive wars and have spent trillions of USD waging immoral wars at great cost to itself and to peace and security, it still finds itself having no peace or security. This is the result of US hegemony and is also a payback for evil deeds. Now the US finds itself disliked and hated even more and needs an opportunity to re-establish hegemony in order to enrich itself at the expense of others. The dispute between Japan and China over the illegal Japanese occupation of Diao Yu Islands is but a small dispute deliberately being enlarged by US and Japanese war-mongering. Again, the US is on the wrong side of history by being very menacing and supporting a very menacing Japan which haven't learned from her inglorious defeat in WWII. The US pivot to Asia is seeing the US being menacing and irresponsible. So for the US, the lessons of 911 haven't being learned. That is you reap what you sow.
The Ugly American...like they have always been....This is just a very old saying.
Obama, Hagel, let's look into these people's eyes, see what is being thought of in their brains... for the biggest interest of America ....and nothing else......
In the past years, we have witnessed a number of countries being put down by the American in the name of fighting terrorism without mandate of the UN, and now what's next?
Their strategy is very short-sighted which is only driven by American domestic politics. These acts are very dangerous and is now posting threats to human race, these threats are probably the biggest ever being inflicted by human themselves.
M Miyagi
The US is one of the most unreasonable, lawless and belligerent country, still living in a cold war era unwilling to do the right thing. In the last few decades, the US have been invading other countries and spreading lies, death and destruction basically act like a terrorist state. The words of Chuck Hagel is full of lies, venom and spite in support of the US prostitute Japan which is being allowed to rear it's ugly head again. This is the US exceptionalism at it's best, up to her old tricks of divide and rule, provocations and lawlessness.
M Miyagi
US foreign policy is based on divide and rule, exploiting the backwardness of other countries to permanently keep them in perpetual conflict and in backwardness, allowing the US military industrial complex to profit from the suffering of the backward countries and then to blame them for being backward by lying about human rights, democracy etc. while committing the most egregious human rights violations including the illegal Iraqi war. Since the end of WWII, the US have directly or indirectly killed millions of people in Europe, the Middle East, South America, Africa and Asia by invading other countries and support for oppressive regimes and instigating conflicts and coups. To Chuck Hagel people will say "Liar, liar set your pants on fire". People like Chuck Hagel and Shinzo Abe will burn in hell.
We know this is all about oil.
Which nation has spent the past few decades destroying, mass killing civilians and plundering other nations' wealth for this valuable commodity, only to then go and waste it on useless exploits? Would Mr Chuck Hagel please explain to China and the world why US conglomerate ExxonMobil are in partnership with PetroVietnam drilling for oil only a few score nautical miles from China's back door.
Excuse me, which nation is being the most provocative?
Look up Hypocrisy on Wikipedia; all you see is the Flag of the United States of America.



SCMP.com Account