Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, speaks during the fourth plenary session of the 13th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore June 1, 2014, the final day of the multilateral forum focusing on security issues in Asia. (Xinhua/Then Chih Wey)
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.