Abe, Hagel's accusations rejected

Abe, Hagel's accusations rejected
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened the forum on Friday night with a high-profile speech full of thinly veiled comments targeting China.

Wang Guanzhong, the highest ranking military official in the Chinese delegation at an Asia-Pacific security forum, started his speech on Sunday by highlighting the common aspiration for a utopia with the same name as the event: Shangri-La.

However, the deputy chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army did not continue with his mild-toned comments as planned on the last day of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

The lieutenant general diverted from the script about midway through the speech, saying he felt forced to respond to Tokyo and Washington's finger-pointing at China.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened the forum on Friday night with a high-profile speech full of thinly veiled comments targeting China.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel went further on Saturday by directly accusing China of "destabilizing" the South China Sea and by backing Tokyo's pursuit of a more muscular military role as a counterweight to Beijing.

"The speeches made by Mr Abe and Mr Hagel gave me the impression that they were coordinated with each other, they supported each other, they encouraged each other and they took the advantage of speaking first at the Shangri-La Dialogue and staged provocations and challenges against China," Wang told defence and military representatives and scholars from 27 countries.

Calling such rhetoric "unacceptable" and "unimaginable", Wang said: "China has never taken the first step to provoke trouble. China has only been forced to respond to the provocative actions by other parties."

When responding to the "nine-dash line" in the South China Sea, one of the many questions he received after the speech, Wang questioned the US motive for criticising China, saying Washington should first abide by international laws by ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a document Beijing has ratified.

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