26 March 2019

US, China defense chiefs trade barbs on Asia role, WSJ says

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan on Tuesday exchanged sharp remarks over their countries’ ambitions in Asia during the American official’s three-day visit to China, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Standing side-by-side during a news conference in Beijing, Hagel called for a new model of military cooperation and transparency between their two countries.

But Chang, in his remarks, castigated the United States and its Asian allies — Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan — for various measures which he said undercut stability, the report said.

China “can never be contained”, Chang was quoted as saying, as he slammed America’s plans to shift more military resources to the region.

Hagel insisted that “the American rebalance to Asia-Pacific is not to contain China”, the newspaper said.

He also criticized China for unilaterally establishing an air defense zone over the East China Sea islands without conferring with its rivals in the region.

“That adds to tensions, misunderstandings and could eventually add to and eventually get to a dangerous conflict,” the US official was quoted as saying.

– Contact HKEJ at [email protected]



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