News / Asia

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

Wang Guangzhong, China's Deputy Chief, General Staff Department, delivers his speech on 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
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: SEATO
June 01, 2014 2:12 PM
If China has more sensible people like Wang Xing ... ,the world would be a better and nicer place.All the Chinese leaders and army generals always make us sick with their outrageous lies,such as: the Chinese people don't have aggression in their gene,China would resolve peacefully all territorial issues,China loves peace,China is not the first country to provoke or start a war.Why don't the Chinese leaders stop for a moment and wonder why many mainland Chinese,Hongkong Chinese and Taiwanese don't want to be part of China.When China becomes so assertive and aggressive,they automatically alienate and distant themselves from the rest of the world.I bet the people of Asia are really happy and relieved when America and Japan have openly and publicly condemned China's provocative actions,and pledge to support the smaller nations. These condemnations would send the right messages to China to let them know that they can not take the laws into their own hands and reshape the world whichever way they want,but they have to play by the rules of laws to make the world a safer place.A stronger and more assertive Japan is Asia's best hope and the best deterrent against Chinese imperialism

by: Tuan from: Vietnam
June 01, 2014 1:23 PM
China is competing with the West . Why do they have to harass Vietnam and Philippine?
Vietnamese fisherman have been fishing in the region since the beginning of time. Then China comes in and says Vietnamese fisherman go home feed your family where else. Many Vietnamese fisherman go hungry since Vietnam is a very poor country.
China is totally wrong. They are evil and they are the invader from the North. God will put them down before they kill more innocent people.

by: Young thing from: nowhere
June 01, 2014 1:23 PM
World say : “those who love peace, prepare for war”
Someone say: Guy who brings fire to trees, will be caught fire someday.
VOA say: For those who puts burning coal in his friend's bag, feels the hot now
Mr Chuck Hagel "If you want peace, agree to keep the peace."

by: ningjingzhiwei from: China
June 01, 2014 1:05 PM
China should be more tough and brave. Love you, China!

by: ningjingzhiwei from: China
June 01, 2014 12:49 PM
China should be more tough, and be brave and confident to say no to the USA. "Fallow your cause and let people talk". Love you,China!

by: volcano
June 01, 2014 12:12 PM
China is a provocative one when they claimed the U-shaped swathe of the South China Sea that covers over 90% of the South China sea, that belongs to other South-East Asian nations' territory, when they put the oil rig in Vietnam's water, when they rob from the Vietnam and the Philippines their islands, when they claimed their full air rights over the disputed islands. And yet they never admit any wrongdoing, they only know how to point fingers at others when they are criticized for their aggressive and provocative actions. They just want the world to be silent and let them do whatever illegal things they want.

by: Wang Xing from: China
June 01, 2014 11:59 AM
I am a Chinese man but I am very sad for that.
Do not believe what China's Leaders say.
See and see what they BADLY do for both Chinese people and for the world. ALL they have done are very very TERRIBLE.
I extremely hate them and feel ashame of our Chinese country.

by: Hovhannes from: Montevideo
June 01, 2014 11:50 AM
China has to stop behaving like the bully in the region and come to terms with the fact that its neighbors are not vassal countries.

by: meanbill from: USA
June 01, 2014 11:36 AM
REALLY? -- Hagel accused China of "destabilizing actions" and Washington would not "look the other way if international order is threatened" -- (US THREATS, with spitballs?) -- from the greatest military force in the history of the world? -- (AND CHINA SAID WHAT?) -- His comments were provocative?

WHY didn't Hagel threaten to have the US interfere in the politics of China, like they did in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Ukraine -- (and bring China the violence, death, destruction and war) -- like the US interference brought to all those other (non-European Union) countries?

by: Concerned from: U.S.A.
June 01, 2014 11:18 AM
Now tell me why, oh why, Americans keep buying goods & food "from China"? and why our govt. keeps borrowing money from our enemy? Let's get real, people. Buy American or do without and Washington, reign in your spendings, lots of foolish spending, and pay down the deficit so we are free of this communist nation . And why are we allowing China to buy up so many U.S. companies, esp. tech, and stealing our knowledge? Have we all gone stupid?
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