Days after a Chinese representative to a security forum accused Japan and the United States for ganging up against China in their speeches, Japan has countered the allegations and slammed China for vilifying their own nation. The incident was the most recent in a string-of-words war between the two nations that has been on going for years following Japan’s administration of a row of disputed islets, which China has been claiming sovereignty over as well.
The leaders were in Singapore late last week to attend the Shangri-La security summit, which was supposed to be an avenue to properly discuss security concerns. But things took a bad turn when Deputy Chief of the General staff of the People’s Liberation Army, Lieutenant General Wang Guanzhong, claimed the U.S. and Japan to have intentionally prepared their speeches to criticize China. In his keynote address, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for all nations to follow the rule of law, which many saw as a “veiled criticism” of China’s recent increased aggressiveness in the East China and South China seas. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, on the other hand, mentioned the cases of Vietnam and the Philippines, which are both engaged in bitter word wars against China, to advise the nation from doing further “destabilizing actions” in the region. Wang, feeling cornered, deviated from his original address and opened his speech by saying that, “The Chinese delegation have this feeling that the speeches of Mr. Abe and Mr. Hagel are a provocative action against China.” He went on further to accuse the two leaders of coordinating their speeches and claiming that by speaking first, the two allies were able to change the tone of the summit to one that was directly hostile towards China.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denied Wang’s allegations on Monday. Speaking to reporters, Suga addressed the Chinese leader’s declarations, stating that he had in fact defamed Japan by making erroneous claims based on misunderstood information. He also told reporters that the Japanese delegation, which attended the forum in Singapore, has already lodged a “strong protest” against the Chinese’ accusations immediately after the summit.
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