China slams US, Japan over public criticism at forum

China slams US, Japan over public criticism at forum

CHINA - China, stung by back-to-back criticisms from the United States and Japan at a major security forum here, lashed out at the two allies yesterday and accused them of ganging up to provoke the mainland.

In a nine-minute riposte containing the harshest language ever used by China at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, Lieutenant- General Wang Guanzhong of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) said it was both "unacceptable" and "unimaginable" that the US and Japan would attack China so publicly at an open forum.

"The speeches 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," added Lt-Gen Wang, who heads the PLA delegation to this year's talks.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel spoke separately at the dialogue, an annual three-day confab for defence ministers and top generals in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

In his keynote address last Friday, Mr Abe avoided direct criticisms of China. But he repeatedly used language which Tokyo had employed in criticising Beijing's handling of territorial disputes in the East and South China seas, such as "attempts to change the status quo through force or coercion".

This was not lost on Lt-Gen Wang, who said it did not matter whether Mr Abe named China or not because the audience all knew whom he was criticising.

"Mr Abe should promote constructive suggestions but he went against the purpose of the dialogue and staged provocative actions, and I think that act is not acceptable and not in line with the spirit of this dialogue," the Chinese general added.

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