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Remarks by Chinese Lieutenant General Wang at the Shangri-La Dialogue

Speaker: Wang Guanzhong
Published June 1, 2014

Chinese Lieutenant General of the People's Liberation Army Wang Guanzhong spoke at the Shangri-La Dialogue (Asia Security Summit) in Singapore on June 1, 2014. He outlined China's regional defense plans and responded to Japanese Prime Minister Abe's and U.S. Secretary of Defense Hagel's remarks about China's policies and actions in the region.


I will only make a few remarks, in contrast with the lengthy remarks by Mr. Abe and Mr. Hagel to condemn China. I have two considerations. First, as a Chinese proverb goes, it is not polite not to reciprocate. Second, this dialogue is meant to be a forum for everyone to discuss and speak out. And truth can emerge from discussions and debate. Since Mr. Abe and Mr. Hagel have voiced their views about China, I would like to comment on their views, as a way of discussion.

I think the Chinese delegation, the other Chinese as well as many foreign friends attending that session would share my thoughts that the remarks of Mr. Abe and Secretary Hagel staged provocations to China. A foreign friend of mine told me that it was unimaginable for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US Secretary of Defense Mr. Chuck Hagel to make such unwarranted accusations against China. He was right. Those remarks were totally beyond my expectation.

I feel that the speeches of Mr. Abe and Mr. Hagel have been pre-coordinated. They supported and encouraged each other in provoking and challenging China, taking advantage of being the first to speak at the Dialogue. The focus of Mr. Abe's speech was on China, although he did not name China openly. No matter whether he named China or not and how he tried to whitewash his speech, I believe the entire audience understood that he was targeting China. Mr. Hagel also focused his remarks on China and the entire audience could feel it. Mr. Abe, overtly or covertly, explicitly or implicitly and directly or indirectly condemned China. Mr. Hagel was more frank and straightforward when he made unwanted accusations against China. As for their different approaches and attitude, I would say I prefer those of Mr. Hagel. If you have something to say, say it directly. As an invited government leader, Mr. Abe is supposed to promote peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region with his constructive ideas in line with the principles of the Shangri-la Dialogue. Instead, in violation of those principles, he was trying to stir up disputes and trouble. I do not think this is acceptable or in agreement with the spirit of the Dialogue. Mr. Hagel was more outspoken than I expected. And I personally believe that his speech is a speech with tastes of hegemony, a speech with expressions of coercion and intimidation, a speech with flaring rhetoric that usher destabilizing factors into the Asia-Pacific to stir up trouble, and a speech with unconstructive attitude. Therefore, one can judge from the two speeches, as well as Mr. Abe and Mr. Hagel's deeds: who is really stirring up trouble and tension in the region and who is initiating disputes and spat? China has never initiated disputes over territorial sovereignty and the delimitation of maritime boundary. China only takes countermeasures against others' provocation. Moreover, China has never initiated provocations on any bilateral or multilateral occasions or at the Shangri-La Dialogue. Who has initiated the ongoing debate? This is well-known to all. Second, from the speeches of Mr. Abe and Mr. Hagel, we know who is really assertive. Assertiveness has come from the joint actions of the United States and Japan, not China.

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