SINGAPORE - China on Sunday strongly denounced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US defence chief Chuck Hagel for making "provocative" speeches against Beijing.
"The Chinese delegation... have this feeling that the speeches of Mr. Abe and Mr. Hagel are a provocative action against China," said Lieutenant General Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Diverting from his prepared remarks, Wang told a top Asian security forum in Singapore that the speeches of the top US and Japanese officials were "unacceptable".
He accused Abe, who spoke on Friday, and Hagel, who delivered his speech Saturday, of coordinating and encouraging each other to attack China in their remarks.
"This is simply unimaginable," the general, who was in full military uniform, told the 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.
Defence Secretary Hagel on Saturday warned China Saturday against "destabilising actions" in the South China Sea, and named a list of such infractions.
Abe, who opened the forum on Friday, urged countries to respect the rule of law, in apparent reference to China's aggressive moves in the South and East China seas.