• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 4:46pm

Tensions run high at security forum as Chinese official criticises US, Japan

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 June, 2014, 4:42am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 June, 2014, 1:35pm

A war of words broke out at a regional security forum yesterday as a senior Chinese military official yesterday lashed out at the United States' and Japan's "duet" act in provoking Beijing.

In a fierce rebuttal of criticism by the US and Japan against China's recent moves in its surrounding waters, Wang Guanzhong, the People's Liberation Army deputy chief of general staff, told regional defence heads and experts at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that China only responded to conflicts over sovereignty disputes and was never the instigator.

This year's forum has highlighted tensions over China's maritime sovereignty disputes with its neighbours. Public remarks by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel have particularly irked Beijing.

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

"Abe and Hagel's speeches gave me a feeling that they were singing a duet. They supported and encouraged each other [and] used their speeches at the Shangri-La Dialogue to instigate provocations against China," Wang said.

Wang said Abe's speech was full of indirect criticisms of China while Hagel was more direct. "I would prefer Hagel's approach, if you have anything to say, say it directly," Wang said.

This followed Saturday's blunt exchange of words between Wang and Hagel, who in his speech said Washington would not "look the other way" if Beijing sought to restrict air traffic and freedom of navigation at sea. Wang responded by saying Hagel's speech was full of hegemony and threats.

Japan responded on Monday when Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo: “We believe the Chinese senior official made claims based on mistake of facts and defamed our country.”

Suga said the Japanese delegation in Singapore immediately made a “strong protest” against the remarks to the Chinese side.

Tensions at this year's forum were particularly high as China's role in regional security was questioned in almost all panels over the weekend.

While the dialogue could help those countries involved better understand each other's policies, the candid exchange of words was unlikely to have helped ease tensions in the region, said Christian Le Miere, a senior fellow with the Britain-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

"In the short term criticisms and sharp words between the two sides doesn't necessary bring these countries closer together," Le Miere said.

"It can be difficult to harmonise their views."

Twitter: @Kristinekwok


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美國想重溫舊夢,想和日本和其他西方國家作為夥伴,瓜分中國 - 美國需要夢醒, 中國不是上個世紀的東亞病夫. US want to relive the days when she partner with Japan and other Western Nations to force their way in China to cut up China in pieces - US need to wake up treating China as the Sick Man of Asia days are over - US needs to discard containment fantasy 美國需要放棄遏制中國的幻想 US defense chief Chuck Hagel raised an important issue of regional stability at the Shangri-La Dialogue forum in Singapore on Saturday, yet his proposal for collective confrontation against China was hardly a solution. Accusing China of destabilizing the region and throwing the US weight behind its allies in rallying up against China, Hagel put up a proposition that smacks of the Cold War containment mentality, only to reveal the US anxiety about and hostility toward China's rising influence. The United States seems to be in a quandary about its China policy, frequently swaying between a dovish one that holds out an olive branch to the hawkish rhetoric of the Cold War mentality. Hagel, concluding his speech with a pledge to continue cooperation with China, underlined the US understanding of where its fundamental interests lie. But its confrontational and threatening posture speaks the opposite. A familiar bogeyman story, this time about an "evil China" trying to grab other countries' land and sea out of its own greed, was told in exaggerated detail by the US secretary of defense after his fellow Japanese ally sang "a lovel song of ode to peace" a day earlier.
Masako Owada
The UK invented the concentration camps in South Africa. The UK looted India and boke it into two before they left. Time for the Scots to split from the UK.
Jonathan Smith
It is good that China is able to defend her legitimate interests.
OldPeak Toad
Why does China call it "nine-dash-line"? If you have anything to say, say it directly! China doesn't have the balls to do so, because everybody could see how ludicrous their "claim" is. Cowards!
The US involvement in the Middle East caused plenty of wars and killings of millions. The same happened everywhere the barbaric US goes to. That is why some Arabs are angry and fought back. That is also why the battle against US barbarism will continue till the US is brought to it's knees.
I Gandhi
Absolutely right on. Why did that plane flew into the tower?
The reality in this highly contested region is that the US and Japan will galvanize Asean nations' resistance of an expansionary China. Ironically, Asean nations have been victimized by an imperialistic Japan but have been pushed towards their historic enemy because of crude and myopic actions from China. China's action of the past year highlight its inability to lead in Asia. It lost the trust of its neighbors!
Masako Owada
There is very difference between Al Qaeda and the US.
Marcus T Anthony
As far as I am aware Japan is not considered a threat in the region by any of the ASEAN nations, nor is there any concern about any expansionist motives. The war ended 70 years ago.
Only China and Russian have the ability to say no to US and their lackeys in international forums and conferences. Other dont have such ability can only resort to terrorism.



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