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China will defend its maritime rights, defense minister tells U.S.

28 Comments

Military relations between China and the United States are steadily improving but Beijing remains determined to defend its maritime rights, the country's defense minister said Monday during a U.S. visit.

Although General Chang Wanquan and his U.S. counterpart, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, struck an optimistic tone after more than three hours of talks, the Chinese official made clear Beijing would not make concessions when it comes to its core interests.

"We always insist that related disputes be solved through dialogue and negotiation," Chang told a joint news conference at the Pentagon.

"However, no one should fantasize that China would barter away our core interests, and no one should underestimate our will and determination in defending our territory, sovereignty and maritime rights," he said.

China claims virtually all of the South China Sea, despite rival claims from other countries in the region, which have accused Beijing of staging a gradual takeover of disputed islets.

And Japan and China are locked in a bitter feud over which country has sovereignty over islands in the East China Sea.

Hagel restated the U.S. stance on the issue, saying Washington remained neutral over sovereignty questions but insisted that disagreements be resolved peacefully, "without coercion."

In the run-up to Monday's meeting, U.S. defense officials have touted progress in defense ties with Beijing after years of false starts, crediting the shift in part to China's new leader, President Xi Jinping.

"One of the themes we emphasized today was that a sustained, substantive military-to-military relationship is an important pillar for this strong bilateral relationship," Hagel said.

And Chang said defense ties are "gaining a good momentum."

Before Monday's talks, Chang met the head of U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii on Friday and the head of Northern Command on Saturday.

His visit follows a series of high-level visits, exchanges and joint initiatives, including plans for Chinese naval forces to take part in a major U.S. exercise next year.

This weekend, Chinese naval forces will take part in an anti-piracy exercise with U.S. ships in the Gulf of Aden.

With China's rapid economic growth fueling an expansion of military might, the U.S. military has sought to forge a dialogue with the Chinese top brass to avoid any miscalculations or incidents on the high seas.

Washington also has pursued a strategic "rebalance" toward the Asia-Pacific region to counter Beijing's rising influence, particularly in the South China Sea.

Chang said the strategic shift toward Asia had raised some concerns in China, and that more U.S.-led military exercises "further complicated the situation in the region."

The general cautioned that the U.S. tilt to Asia should not be focused on any one nation.

"We would like to have this rebalancing strategy balance on different countries as well because the essence of rebalancing is balance," he said.

The talks also covered cyber security, a contentious issue as the United States has alleged the Chinese military and government of backing some digital espionage against defense firms and other U.S. targets.

Chang said his country opposed any "arms race" in the cyber realm, as well as any "double standard," amid recent revelations of massive electronic surveillance carried out by America's National Security Agency.

"Regarding how to solve the cybersecurity issue, I believe it requires the common exploration and cooperation between China and United States rather than ungrounded accusation or suspicion," he said.

Chang's trip to the United States follows a visit to China earlier this by the top U.S. military officer, General Martin Dempsey, who took part in Monday's talks.

And Hagel said Monday he had accepted an invitation to travel to China next year, his first trip there as Pentagon chief.

Hagel said he was looking forward to meeting Chang again next week in Brunei at a gathering of defense ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The U.S. defense secretary said his trip to the region also would include stops in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments
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Someday General Chang will be able to view his fleet while aboard a glass-bottomed boat.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Freedom of navigation in the South and east China Seas is also a U.S,. "core interest".

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Yep Ossan, we are on the same page.

What would be like if China starts controlling Asian sea for international commerce? The presence of the US 7th Fleet is very critical for a free trade and democracy. Go US Navy ,Japanese Coast Guard and JSDF !!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The CCP has always talked a good game.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

China should be allowed to defend its territory and its maritime rights no problem at all, but when it tries to stand over other nations and take their islands, property and resources then that is a total different issue,

I like the comment about viewing the chinese fleet through a glass bottomed boat.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Does this mean the Chinese will take control of those teeny "Senkaku" islands by force resulting in deaths and severe injuries?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A glass bottemed boat to see what? Arizona in Pearl harbour? I have seen it and pretty depressing. You can see that the oil still leaking from the poor ship. Back the Diaoyu island. Japan can not do anything since last year when Chinese boats started to patrol the surrounding areas.

Navigation in the South China sea has not problem as long as you admit that you are in the Chinese water and follow the rules. It is nothing to do with sovereignty. Free navigation and the sovereignty are two different things. Therefore US and China have no difference on the sovereignty issue. Don't try to confuse yourself.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

... no one should underestimate our will and determination in defending our territory, sovereignty, and maritime rights.

The only problem is that China seems to think that their devine right is to own the world, to hell with any other country that might claim any territory they want, and they support that with fabricated and/or exaggerated ancient history!

7 ( +10 / -3 )

The only problem is that China seems to think that their devine right is to own the world

Just how do you figure that? When was the last time a Chinese navy ship was spotted outside of another country's territorial waters on the other side of the globe?

Never happened. Its American Navy ships all over the planet. And its no surprise that China, or any country really, is greatly concerned about U.S. military presence near their borders. With the military comes the CIA, and history shows they will work hard to topple any government, squash any insurrection, and stabilize or destabilize any region and for one solitary purpose only, to further American business interest. They don't care about democracy, freedom, or your life. Its all about money. Of course China is concerned. They don't want to be America's next whipping boy. Who does?

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

China has no real allies around the globe that would host their ships. They are aloof when trying to build relationships. Their attitude about ownership is making other Asian nations run to the US. Their choice.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Man, indoctrination runs deep. Who has China asked to host their ships? Why should they? If your suspicion is going to be on anybody, its the one hosted halfway around the world, not the one sitting at home essentially minding their own business.

Nobody is running to the U.S. except maybe Vietnam if you want to spin it that way. China's "attitude" about ownership has been to do pretty much nothing but talk.

Any country that makes a deal with America is going to wind up the same as everybody else: politicians who profit and people who either resent it or know nothing.

China is a navel gazing country. They are worried about some uninhabited surrounding islands only. Drops in the bucket. The indoctrination required to see that as being a great big boogey man is extremely ugly.

-15 ( +2 / -17 )

"China has no real allies around the globe" Who is japan's allie? US of A, a big bully? What makes you proud of being a bully's allie? japan does not have a friend in Asia. Look around you, no one is your friend, not South korea, not Taiwan, of curse not China and Russia.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

CalvinMontblanc

China is a navel gazing country.

I think you meant to type China is a Naval gazing country, coz if they persist with this BS they will be left gazing at two of the most powerful Navys in the world while theirs is sitting on the bottom of the pacific

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Calvin

"They are worried about some uninhabited surrouding islands only."

hummmmm......

Bhutan

Brunei

India

Japan

Malaysia

North Korea

Philippines

Russia

South Korea

Taiwan

Vietnam

And what do these countries have incommon? Right, territorial disputes with China. This isn't the actual list of disputes because that would be too long, just the countries! Did I miss any?

If you count carefully both hands won't be enough and you'll have to use your toes too. Just for reference Japan has disputes with a total of THREE countries; China, Korea, and Russia.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

If the US really does its job it would have told the Japanese off and to return the Diaoyu Islands Japan grabbed back to China, the rightful owner. As usual America is only concerned for itself and, with China fast becoming a challenge to its influence had decided otherwise in support of Japan. This double-headed snake needs to be cut off from any involvement in any affairs. It only brings trouble for those concerned who willingly wants to be its pawn.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

China can ever be a naval super power. It is not because China lacks capability, but because China is geographically challenged. Her vast Northern, Eastern, and Southern borders are basically land locked. Of course to the East China possess a vast coast line, but just a few score miles out to sea from the most advantageous spots, she encounters both the Japan and Philippine archipelagos, and has to pass them through narrow channels to access "blue water".

These act as immense strategic barriers to any serious projection of naval power. In a hostile environment, China's fleet would be sitting ducks for land based assets to pick off with ease.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The US should take notes, and start getting out of Asia,

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

The PRC talks a good game, but it's real aims are as neferious as their Document Number 9.

As usual the PRC is talking with a forked tongue.

The only way the PRC could win a war is if it finds a way to grow gills fon each and every soldier it has.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yeah, I made a blunder there. Too focused on this ships and navy business. Yes, China has some border disputes, but if you want to go there:

You know why America has no disputes with neighbors? They killed everyone who had a dispute!

You have quite the case of bias. Its not curable, but it is manageable. The first step is to figure out that you have it.

Notice how, in the list for China, you gave each country a line, then double spaced? Then with Japan, you just put the nations in a sentence? That is proof of bias number one.

Proof two is that you forgot to mention that Japan has a dispute with Taiwan as well.

Proof three is that you separated North and South Korea in China's list to show two disputes, but combined them to show only one dispute for Japan.

So no, Japan does not have 3 disputes. It has five. Russia, China, South Korea, North Korea and Taiwan. Japan has a dispute with each and every one of her neighbors, this despite the fact that Japan has no land borders with any of them and is on the very edge of Asia. China is in the center of Asia and surrounded by many more countries, all wanting a cut of China as much as China wants a cut of them.

Also, you neglect that fact that half your list for China also has disputes with each other. Is it China's fault that Vietnam has disputes with Malaysia? That Brunei has disputes with the Philippines? No. Welcome to Asia. They ALL want a cut of each other!

And China's dispute with Russia ended in 2008. The dispute with Bhutan resolved in 2002. When was the last time Japan resolved a dispute?

And please be calm before getting defensive. I love Japan more than China to be honest, but the truth is the truth.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

JBirdAug. 20, 2013 - 06:35PM JST

And what do these countries have incommon? Right, territorial disputes with China. This isn't the actual list of disputes because that would be too long, just the countries! Did I miss any?

Yes, missed a big one. The North Pole.

China is claiming the North Pole territory, where very rich natural gas and other minerals are underneath, against US, Russia, Canada, Norway, UK, Iceland. The funny thing is China is not even close to the North Pole. There is a plenty of reading materials available on this if you are interested.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The uyoku seem to have control. As soon as I started putting China in a fair light all my scores are negative.

The funny thing is China is not even close to the North Pole.

I found this neat thing on the internet. Seems its called a "map". China is closer to the north pole than the U.S. and about equally close compared to the U.K. China extends even further north than Mongolia.

Of course the claim is preposterous. But so is America's.

-18 ( +1 / -19 )

I found this neat thing on the internet. Seems its called a "map". China is closer to the north pole than the U.S. and about equally close compared to the U.K. China extends even further north than Mongolia.

I will bet your life and your families life that Alaska (You know America) is closer to the north pole.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@ Calvin

I put the list of COUNTRIES (not the actual disputes which number many more) in a list as that was the point of my post, that China was not, as you say, "only interested in a few uninhibited islands".

It's true China and Russia signed a very tenuous agreement that encompassed most of their disputes in 2008 but it seems ready to flair again, especially in the Amur region. I think if you check the dispute with Bhutan wasn't resolved in 2002. China just provided "historical" evidence for their claims... Sound familiar to recent conflicts and China's position?

I wasn't really addressing Japan's disputes, but I did not include NK as the north has never filed a dispute. Instead of including Taiwan I guess we should be fair and remove it from both lists as China claims Taiwan as a renegade province and it is not a sovereign country by UN standards as all others are in the lists.

That still leaves China with double digit figures when it comes to COUNTRIES that it has a disputed territory. Regardless of who is claiming what can you name one other country in Asia that has that many other countries in conflict over territories? Didn't think so!

Please, if the discussion is China let's keep it at that, but if you want to make a comparison to show how few border conflicts the surrounding countries have I really don't mind if you put them in a list or in-line, the numbers won't change!

BTW Your (incorrect) statement that Japan has FIVE DISPUTES and China ONLY has 10 COUNTRIES that it has disputes with is amusing. Nice try!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

CalvinMontblancAug. 20, 2013 - 11:38PM JST

China is closer to the north pole than the U.S.

Did you get that map from a Dollar store? You know most products sold in the store are made in China..

3 ( +3 / -0 )

CalvinMontblancAug. 20, 2013 - 11:38PM JST China is closer to the north pole than the U.S. and about equally close compared to the U.K. China extends even further north than Mongolia.

Did you look at where Alaska is at in the map? Did you know that Alaska is U.S.?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

China is closer to the north pole than the U.S.

Tried not to comment on the issue.....but.....that was hilarious!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

China would love to claim Alaska too if the truth be known.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

CalvinMontblancAug. 20, 2013 - 11:38PM JST I found this neat thing on the internet. Seems its called a "map". China is closer to the north pole than the U.S. and about equally close compared to the U.K. China extends even further north than Mongolia. Of course the claim is preposterous. But so is America's

Not to beat this into the ground, but really, do you own a map that isn't published by the propaganda arm of the PRC?

Just to help you out, the US purchased Alaska from Russia in 1912 for about 120 Million dollars or 元734,568,000.00.

Alaska is closer to the North Pole than China, oh wait, that's right, the PRC thinks it also owns the North Pole. So, I might be wrong......LOL

You guys think you own everything.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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