China strikes back at the annual internattional military and geo-political forum Shangri-La Dialogue 2014, against what it deemed as United States and Japan instigating Asian nations to gang up against the Asian Super Power which has been seen as very agressive and the ‘neighbourhood bully’.
The Channel News Asia story:
China denounces US, Japan for “provocative” remarks
POSTED: 01 Jun 2014 10:25
Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Wang Guanzhong speaks during the fourth plenary session at the 13th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) in Singapore. (AFP/ROSLAN RAHMAN)
SINGAPORE: China strongly denounced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and United States Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel Sunday for “provocative” remarks accusing Beijing of destabilising actions in contested regional waters.
Lieutenant General Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), told an Asian security forum in Singapore that the comments had been “unacceptable”.
Abe opened the Shangri-La Dialogue on Friday by urging countries to respect the rule of law — an apparent reference to perceived Chinese aggression over disputed islets in the South and East China seas.
Hagel followed on Saturday by warning China against “destabilising actions” in the South China Sea and listed a number of alleged infractions, including against the Philippines and Vietnam.
“The Chinese delegation… have this feeling that the speeches of Mr Abe and Mr Hagel are a provocative action against China,” said Wang, dressed in full military regalia.
He cast aside his prepared speech and said he needed to respond to the remarks, accusing Abe and Hagel of “coordinating” with each other to attack China at the conference.
“This is simply unimaginable,” said Wang, the highest ranking military official in the Chinese delegation, adding that the speeches were “unacceptable and not in the spirit of this Shangri-La Dialogue”.
“The speeches made by Mr Abe and Mr Hagel gave me the impression that they coordinated with each other, they supported each other, they encouraged each other and they took the advantage of speaking first… and staged provocative actions and challenges against China,” he said.
Stressing US commitments to allies and friends in Asia, Hagel had called for a peaceful resolution of maritime disputes and issued a blunt message to Bejing.
“In recent months, China has undertaken destabilising, unilateral actions asserting its claims in the South China Sea,” the Pentagon chief said.
He accused China of restricting the Philippines’ access to Scarborough Shoal, putting pressure on Manila’s long-standing presence in Second Thomas Shoal, beginning land reclamation at various locations and moving an oil rig into disputed waters with Vietnam.
Hagel said that while the United States does not take sides on rival claims, “we firmly oppose any nation’s use of intimidation, coercion, or the threat of force to assert these claims”.
“The United States will not look the other way when fundamental principles of the international order are being challenged,” he warned.
Abe pledged that his country would play a larger role in promoting peace in Asia, as his administration moves to reshape the Japanese military’s purely defensive stance.
Laying out a vision of Tokyo as a counterweight to the growing might of China but without naming any country, Abe offered Japan’s help to regional allies “to ensure security of the seas and skies”.
He said Japan and the US stood ready to bolster security cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to promote peace.
“Japan intends to play an even greater and more proactive role than it has until now in making peace in Asia and the world something more certain,” Abe said.
China is locked in heated disputes with various Southeast Asian countries over waters and territories in the South China Sea.
Beijing and Tokyo also contest islands in the East China Sea.
Wang said he preferred Hagel’s directness by directly naming China, compared to Abe who did not mention any country.
“If I am to compare the attitude of the two leaders, I would prefer the attitude of Mr Hagel. It is better to be more direct,” he said.
“He (Abe) may name the (country) or not but all the audience know that he was targeting China.”
The fact is that China is bad in playing this geo-political opera. PLA Navy (PLAN) have had serious military stand off with Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and proven to use military might as a projection of force to Malaysia.
China has been proven to be the ‘aggressor’ around the region, South China Sea and Sea of Japan. This is not withstanding the fact that China invaded Paracel islands in Jnauary 1974.
United States and Japan are allies, at the moment have the necessary assets and resources, confidence and clout to stand against the might of PLAN.
Gen. Wang should present indisputable facts about “United States and Japan are being provocative”, rather than just a mere soundbite as a geo-political reaction. He should start with the mobilisation of the USD 1 billion oil rig into disputed territories, which should be deemed part of Vietnamese EEZ in the first place.
Then he and Deputy Foreign Minister Fu Ying should also substantiate the claims and rights on the imaginary ‘Nine-Dash-Line’, which trespass the EEZ areas provided under United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).
Gen. Wang and Madam Fu should also explain why China has demonstrated blatant disregard towards the Document of Conduct (DOC) which it signed with ASEAN nations in November 2002. The agreement inked in Phnom Penh stipulated that issues pertaining to multiple claims and disputed borders were agreed to be resolved through diplomatic means and talks using principles of UNCLOS.
Whilst at it, they should also present China’s case on why it vehemently rejected the Philippines move to bring the case of Scarborough Shoal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague.
This crude attempt to play the geo-political game demonstrated China’s gross self-serving arrogant attitude and blatant disregard for others. The thought that on its own is already, somewhat “Provocative”.