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“The China-US relationship is neither comparable to US-Russia ties in the Cold War, nor a relationship between container and contained. China’s development can’t be contained by anyone,” said Chang Wanquan.
He was speaking to reporters following talks with his American counterpart Chuck Hagel on Tuesday morning.
Hagel, on his maiden visit to China as Defense Chief, arrived in Qingdao in east China’s Shandong Province on Monday where he toured China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier.
Chang and Hagel vowed to boost ties despite standing on opposing sides of disputes in the Asia Pacific region. Hagel said at the joint press briefing that he had communicated to his Chinese counterpart that Beijing doesn’t have the right to unilaterally establish an air defense zone over disputed islands with no consultation.
The US is trying to strengthen its often-controversial military presence in Philippines, one of Southeast Asia’s most strategic countries.
“China and the United States have far more areas of common ground than they do differences in the region,” said Chang Wanquan on Tuesday.
The Chinese Defense Minister also asked Hagel to reign in its ally Japan and restrain from further escalating tensions in the East China Sea where both countries lay contesting claims.
Beijing asked the US “not to be permissive and supportive” to Japan and Philippines during talks between the two defense chiefs of the world’s two biggest economies.
“We will neither compromise on, concede or trade on territory and sovereignty, nor tolerate them being infringed on even a little bit,” the Chinese Defense Minister said, toughening its stand on Tuesday.
The state-run daily Global Times has also criticized the role played by the US in the region.
“Chinese public opinion has given up hope of reason with the US, since Washington is adept in manipulating double standards… Many Chinese believe the core of the US “rebalancing Asia” strategy lies in that the US is attempting to burden China’s rise through instigating confrontation with other countries in the neighborhood,” said an editorial on Monday.
Meanwhile, Chang and Hagel also discussed cyber-security during Tuesday’s meet.
“China has taken note of Hagel’s attitude on cyberspace,” said Wang referring to the US Defense Chief’s speech at the National Security Agency headquarters that the US does not seek to militarize cyberspace and the Pentagon “will maintain an approach of restraint to any cyber operations outside the U.S. government networks.”
TBP and Agencies