China was completely justified in rejecting remarks made by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the 13th Asia Security Summit, or Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore on Saturday.
The US defense chief did everything he could to point an accusing finger. He not only charged China with taking "destabilizing, unilateral actions" in the South China Sea but also criticized the demarcation of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea and the so-called cyber spying against the United States.
The US accusations are nothing but groundless and unreasonable. It is inappropriate for the defense chief to fire anti-China remarks from the podium of a regional security forum where the US stance is by no means constructive to regional peace and stability.
Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army who led the Chinese delegation, rightfully pointed out that Hagel's speech bore every sign of US hegemony as it was filled with full of incitement, instigation, threat and intimidation.
Wang's comment provides an accurate lens for people to see through Washington's real intentions in the region. Hagel has criticized China for taking so-called destabilizing and unilateral actions in the South China Sea. In fact, it is the US's unilateral move in the region that has encouraged some countries in the region to covet islands and islets to which they are not entitled.
Until 2009 no country had challenged China's de facto control over the "nine-dash line" that outlines its territory in the South China Sea. The area of jurisdiction is explicitly defined, and China holds indisputable proof of its sovereignty over the waters. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which some claimant countries have frequently referred, also respects historical sovereignty.
Since 2009, when the Obama administration set out to implement its "rebalancing to Asia" policy, Washington has strengthened its military ties with its regional allies and shipped advanced military equipment to the region. It is no secret that Washington has assumed the role of a wirepuller behind a number of maritime territorial disputes in the region.
As for the US objection to China's establishment of an ADIZ over the East China Sea, it is obvious that Washington has raised the tone of its criticism out of fear that China's increasing activities in the region may impair its vested interests.
Since China announced the establishment of the ADIZ on Nov 23, the US has been leading a chorus denouncing the move. Their criticism is hardly worth refuting as China's ADIZ conforms to international law and international practice – more than 20 countries have set up ADIZs, and the US was the first to do so 60 years ago.
During Saturday's speech, Hagel tried to depict the US as country that dutifully defends the international order in the Asia Pacific. Washington never hides its intention to play a leading role in regional affairs but with such an unconstructive attitude as displayed in Hagel's remarks, even countries welcoming a bigger role for Uncle Sam in the region, could not help but wonder about the US's real intentions. More and more people in this region have begun to realize that the US only wants to fish in troubled waters.
"The United States will not look the other way when fundamental principles to the international order are being challenged," Hagel said. Again this is hypocritical as well as self-deceiving.
The US has thrown its weight behind Japan, its regional ally, since September 2012 when the Japanese government unilaterally announced its decision to "nationalize" China's Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. Washington should be reminded that Japan's attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea and its increasingly rightist behavior are posing the greatest threat to the norms governing international order.
As such, by lodging unwarranted accusations against China, Hagel has sent a wrong signal in Singapore. His arguments do a disservice to regional efforts in quelling maritime disputes as well as sowing more seeds of discord in the region.
By Wang Hui China Daily
Provocative remarks from U.S., Japan not helpful for regional security: Chinese general
SINGAPORE, June 1 (Xinhua) -- The provocative harsh remarks against China by United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a regional security forum are not helpful for regional peace and stability, an army general heading the Chinese delegation said on Sunday.
Delivering a speech on the third day of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Wang Guanzhong said he has planned to use the opportunity to elaborate on China's newly proposed approach and framework of common security and cooperative security in Asia but had to move away from the prepared text to respond.
"My feeling is that Mr. Abe and Mr. Hagel were singing notes in chorus. They were corroborating and colluding and using the opportunities to speak first at the Shangri-La Dialogue to take the initiative to provoke and challenge China," he told military generals, defense chiefs and scholars.
Hagel criticized China as being the one taking unilateral actions on the South China Sea and said that the United States will maintain its leadership in the Asia Pacific and defend the interests of its allies. He also repeated the U.S. pretext of concerns for the freedom of navigation and respect for international law in the South China Sea.
Wang said he did not expect the languages of hegemonism and words of intimidation in the speech of Hagel.
"He made a speech to stoke instability and encourage fight picking in the Asia Pacific. The attitude there is not constructive," the Chinese general said.
No disputes or incidents have been initiated by China over a long period of time on sovereign and maritime issues and China has always had to respond, he said.
Abe delivered a keynote speech on Friday evening full of thinly- veiled comments aimed at China. He talked about how he intends to revise and push beyond the limit of Japan's pacifist constitution that was put in place after the World War II and how he intends to go for a larger role for Japan in Asia in security by promoting the idea of "proactive peace" and giving patrol ships to the Philippines and Vietnam to support their maritime claims.
Wang said everybody can see the remarks of Abe, full of innuendoes, are aimed at China.
"Hagel was being quite frank. He just bluntly and openly criticized China, albeit baseless. But I rather like his way of talking. If you want to say something, it's better to just say it directly," he said.
"As a prime minister, Abe was invited to the Shangri-La Dialogue by the organizers to give a speech. He could have upheld the goal of dialogue facilitation set for the forum to advance peace and security in the Asia Pacific. He could have contributed constructive suggestions but, opposite to the spirit of the dialogue meeting, he initiated incidents and stoke disputes," Wang said.
"I think this is not acceptable, and this is not in line with the spirit of the dialogue meeting," he added.
Wang said that China never took the initiative at the Shangri- La Dialogue to incite disputes.
"If you also look at what the United States and Japan did, it was not difficult to see who took the initiative to pick fights and incite disputes and conflicts. From the speeches of Abe and Hagel, we can see who on earth are aggressive. It is the United States and Japan corroborating with each other, and not China," he said.
Despite the harsh words from the United States and Japan, Wang called for cooperation and coordination to work for regional peace and stability.
Both China and the United States have common interests in a world of increasingly interdependent countries, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently proposed the approach of common security and sustainable security for Asia, which calls for cooperative security and mutually beneficial development to lead efforts for peace and stability in the region.
China has said that the approach of dividing Asian countries into allies and non-allies by the United States will not lead to security for all and that the 21st century is the time to drop the mentality of alliance to achieve security at the expense of other countries.
The approach outlined by China calls for efforts from all the countries in the region to contribute to regional peace and stability through the pursuit of cooperation and development. Scholars said the approach is much more inclusive and that other countries are also welcome to play a constructive role.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov voiced concerns for the detrimental impact on regional peace and stability from the wave of color revolutions with democracy as a pretext.
He said that Russia is opposed to the deployment of missile defense systems in the Asia Pacific which breaks the strategic balance in the region.
Antonov also questioned the idea of the United States must be a leader.
"We are opposed to any division of the Asia Pacific nations into 'primary' and 'secondary' ones, leaders and supporters. We are all equal. We have equal rights and obligations. At the same time every nation is unique in terms of its history, cultural heritage and traditions," he said.
The Shangri-La Dialogue, officially the Asian Security Summit organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, a London-based think thank, gathers defense and military representatives and scholars from 27 countries in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. -xinhua
China advocates, implements security concept for Asia
|Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the general staff of People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China, speaks during a plenary session at the 13th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore June 1, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]|
SINGAPORE -- China advocates and implements a security concept for Asia in real earnest, and stands ready to work with other countries to pursue Asian security that is established, shared by and win-win to all, said Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the general staff of People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China.
|Experts blast Hagel over 'destabilizing' accusations|
"The security of China is closely linked to that of Asia. China is a constructive, proactive and positive force for Asia's peace and security," Wang said in a speech at the 13th Shangri-La Dialogue.
The event is a multilateral forum organized by the London-based think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently put forth the security concept for Asia featuring common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security at the fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.
"This concept has been widely acclaimed by the Asian countries, " the senior military officer said.
Wang said China is a constructive, proactive and positive force for Asia's peace and security because China pursues the path of peaceful development.
He also stressed that China will never contend for or seek hegemony and foreign expansion.
China believes that all countries should have the equal rights to independently choose their own social systems and development paths, said the officer.
"We need to strengthen coordination on the basis of mutual respect, and oppose the attempt by any country to dominate regional security affairs," he said.
The senior military officer highlighted in his speech that China advocates dialogue and cooperation, and stands for coordinated progress of security and development. "China pursues a neighborhood diplomacy that aims at bringing harmony, security and prosperity to its neighbors," Wang said.
"We work to promote the sound interaction between regional economic cooperation and security cooperation, and to maintain both traditional and non-traditional security in a coordinated way. "
He said, in 2013, China contributed "nearly 30 percent of the world's economic growth" and "over 50 percent of the growth in Asia".
Wang said China will continue to promote sustainable security through sustainable development, and work together with other countries for "lasting peace and prosperity in the region".
New security structure needed: Trust, collaboration key to Asian security