News / Asia

China Calls Japan, US Comments on Disputed Areas 'Provocative'

Wang Guangzhong, China's Deputy Chief, General Staff Department, delivers his speech on "Major Power Perspectives on Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific", during the Asia Security Summit in Singapore, June 1, 2014.Wang Guangzhong, China's Deputy Chief, General Staff Department, delivers his speech on "Major Power Perspectives on Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific", during the Asia Security Summit in Singapore, June 1, 2014.
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Wang Guangzhong, China's Deputy Chief, General Staff Department, delivers his speech on "Major Power Perspectives on Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific", during the Asia Security Summit in Singapore, June 1, 2014.
Wang Guangzhong, China's Deputy Chief, General Staff Department, delivers his speech on "Major Power Perspectives on Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific", during the Asia Security Summit in Singapore, June 1, 2014.
VOA News
A senior Chinese general has lashed out at the U.S. and Japan for criticizing Beijing's activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea, calling the comments "provocative."

The exchange between the world's three biggest economies at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, a security forum for government officials, military officers and defense experts, were among the most caustic in years at diplomatic gatherings, and could be a setback to efforts to bring ties back on track.

Lieutenant-General Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of China's general staff, told the security forum on Sunday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had angered him with their remarks.

In a speech Saturday, Hagel accused China of "destabilizing actions" in the South China Sea. He told defense officials at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue that Washington would not "look the other way" if international order is threatened.

In his keynote address to the forum on Friday, Abe pledged Japan's "utmost support" to Southeast Asian nations in their efforts to ensure the security of their seas and airspace.

Abe also pitched his plan for Japan to take on a bigger international security role. It is part of his nationalist agenda to loosen the restraints of the pacifist post World War Two constitution and to shape a more muscular Japanese foreign policy.

Wang called the remarks a form of provocation towards China and "unthinkable," and said China has never taken the first step to provoke trouble.

It was the first such major conference since tensions have surged in the South China Sea, one of Asia's most intractable disputes and a possible flashpoint for conflict.

Tellingly, despite around 100 bilateral and trilateral meetings taking place over the week, officials from China and Japan did not sit down together.

Philip Hammond, the British defense minister, said Abe's agenda was well-known but provoked a response because it was laid out publicly.

“It's certainly the first time I had heard him articulate it on a public platform in that way,” he said.

Japan's growing proximity to Washington is also a worry for Beijing.

Still, the row is not likely to spill over. The three nations have deep economic and business ties, which none of them would like to see disrupted.

“Relations are definitely not at a breaking point,” said Bonnie Glaser of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies and a regular visitor to the dialogue.

“Leaders are aware that their countries have huge stakes in this relationship and they are committed to trying to find areas where interests do overlap, where they can work together.”

Tensions have surged recently in the South China Sea, one of Asia's most intractable disputes and a possible flashpoint for conflict.

China claims almost the entire oil- and gas-rich South China Sea, and dismisses competing claims from Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. Japan has its own territorial row with China over islands in the East China Sea.

Riots broke out in Vietnam last month after China placed an oil rig in waters claimed by Hanoi, and the Philippines said Beijing could be building an airstrip on a disputed island.

Tensions have been rising steadily in the East China Sea as well. Japan's defense ministry said Chinese fighter jets came as close as 50 meters to a Japanese surveillance plane near disputed islets last week and within 30 meters of an electronic intelligence aircraft.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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by: NG from: Canada
June 30, 2014 4:46 PM
Japan was brutal Fascist/Nazi during WWII, but Japan didn't follow the well-known Potsdam Declaration and Cairo Declaration (signed by US, Russian, UK, China) during WWII, and occupied more land areas than it should based on Potsdam Declaration and Cairo Declaration (see wiki)(Diaoyu island is part of China based on these declarations); Japan took Diaoyu island (senkaku) back to its national Properties and unilaterally changed the current status of Diaoyu island (senkaku). So it is Japan that is provocative, NOT China. Please remember that US just gave Japan administrative right about Diaoyu islands (senkuka), NOT sovereignty since US knew that Diayu islands (senkaku) belong to China. Japan is a liar about history and cheated many people. US government is too politic and not fair, and just took sides unfairly and irresponsibly. Does US government forget Pearl Harbor during WWII?

It is Japan that is provocatively and aggressively take Diaoyu islands (senkuka) to Japan’s national properties, violating all Declarations in WWII (Diaoyu islands (senkuka) is part of China, not Japan, based on these declarations). The US government should be responsible for Declarations in WWII, and should not lose all the credits accumulated in WWII.

South China Sea boundary (i.e. 9-dash line) was set by KMT (Taiwan, an ally of US from WWII to Now) in 1940s, and well recognized by some Southeastern countries, Vietnam even recognized 9-dash line by written form in 1950-1970s, but Vietnam changed its mind later. China has legal basis and principles about South China Sea, and peaceful talking is the only way to solve these problems instead of blaming China without enough communications.

Japan has 4 neighbors and has boundary disputed with all its neighbors (100%); China has 14 neighbors and only has boundary problems with 4 of them (~28%).


by: Gene from: New York City
June 02, 2014 7:29 PM
It's about time we started naming China when we protest their aggressive actions. Finally we indicted Chinese PLA officers for hacking US systems. China has been conducting a war against us in every which way apart from actual shooting for the last 10 years, but our corporations addicted to cheap Chinese labor have allowed China to build the worlds second biggest military in preparation for a war against the United States. It's no joke they have said so themselves, We just don't listen.


by: Colorblue from: China
June 02, 2014 11:51 AM
I have seen too many naive comments on this page, which amused me a lot. I don't know why an independent country, like Japan, has to be protected by another country like the US, even sacrificing its territory. I don't understand why the US Army has right to deal with affairs in other countries far from the States.

Japan is a dog of the States, while the strong US Army is the leash.


by: Jon Laughlin from: USA
June 02, 2014 11:01 AM
China's belligerent words are only making its neighbors increase their resolve not to give in to Chinese demands. It is China who's words are provocative. Anybody sharing a border with China would be looking to its defenses and preparing for the coming war.


by: jonathan huang from: canada
June 02, 2014 10:03 AM
why democratic Taiwan claims the whole south china sea within the nine dash line? because it was Taiwan, ROC first published the nine dash line to show china sea territory!

Mainland only claims to inherit the properties from ROC. Taiwan is democratic and small, Taiwan government must not lie. on the other hand greedy viet cong always lie! viet cong is the one evil and greedy, always try to steal from other nations. Viet cong killed millions its own ppl then invaded Cambodia and killed thousands! now viet cong is trying to steal from china. its time to teach this mad dog a lesson which was not finished by America during the viet war!


by: WhiteHorse from: USA
June 02, 2014 9:06 AM
Many small countries around South and East China sea will have to form a strategic alliance like EU in the future.


by: Negusse Mamo from: Ethiopia
June 02, 2014 4:35 AM
In order to create a safer world, the USA and the rest of the World, must play a major role in bringing peace only through dialogue. The peace in Asia is more crucial and influential to the currently active &positive development in Africa by the major nations like: China, Japan, South Korea, etc... Their peace is ours!
Long live USA, China, Japan, South Korea...
Friendship with Africa and the rest of the World as a whole...


by: Phil from: Ohio
June 01, 2014 10:37 PM
Isn't that funny!
They stole everything else from us and now they are stealing th same word we told them.
"Provocative"?


by: Adam9 from: Dong Nai, VN
June 01, 2014 6:03 PM
General Wang of China is talking almost like the ways Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama talk.
The general said "provocative" but he did not say "deeply concerned" though. I wonder what is going to happen?


by: Chi Le from: USA
June 01, 2014 3:43 PM
To have peace, every disputed territorial region should be arbitrated at an international trial without by forces, and a country has right of development of resources on its lawful territory after the region are arbitrated. Therefore, we try to give a look what China is going for peace in the water region, individually for Vietnam.
1/ In the disputed water region, China planted its oil rig, threatened, and sank fishing, surveillance Vietnamese vessels.
2/ In 1988, China invaded Gạc Ma Reef (Johnson South Reef) by forces and killed over 70 Vietnamese soldiers.
3/ In 1974, China invaded the Paracel Islands by forces and killed 53 South Vietnamese soldiers.
4/ In 1956, when French returned sovereignty and territorial integrity to Vietnam, Vietnam had not yet had ability to manage the Paracel Islands. China took advantage of the situation to invade a western part of the Paracel Islands, violated Vietnam’s territorial integrity.
It is really ironical for the large-body neighbor. These proved there is China’s long-term plot to invade and expand its territory by forces in the eastern sea of Vietnam. Clearly, China has been constantly provoking to cause a new war for the long-term invasion plot.

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