SINGAPORE — China struck back harshly at the United States and Japan on Saturday, as a senior Chinese military official accused Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan of acting in concert to sow controversy and division in the Asia-Pacific region.
Speaking to reporters at a conference here of senior military officials from around the region, Lt. Gen. Wang Guanzhong, the deputy chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army, characterized a speech on Saturday morning by Mr. Hagel, which followed one by Mr. Abe on Friday night, as “full of threats and intimidating language,” according to Chinese news media outlets.
General Wang seemed especially annoyed that Mr. Hagel, who accused China of coercive tactics in its many maritime disputes with its neighbors, had made his accusations at a conference about regional cooperation.
“Secretary Hagel, in this kind of public space with many people, openly criticized China without reason,” General Wang said. “Secretary Hagel’s speech is full of encouragement, incitement for the Asia region’s instability giving rise to a disturbance.”
General Wang also criticized Mr. Abe’s speech, which contained several veiled criticisms of China.
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