U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in Shari-La Dialogue an Asia-Pacific security forum, “In recent months, China has undertaken destabilising, unilateral actions asserting its claims in the South China Sea.”
Hagel emphasized that US does not take sides in territorial disputes, however, “we firmly oppose any nation’s use of intimidation, coercion, or the threat of force to assert these claims… The United States will not look the other way when fundamental principles of the international order are being challenged,” he said.
The US secretary cited different occasions in which China became aggressive. Chinese Coast guard prevented the rotation of Philippine troops in Ayungin Shoal, the oil rig in Vietnam, and reclamation activities in disputed waters.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe iterated earlier at the same forum that Japan offers its “utmost support” to Southeast Asian countries to protect their seas and airspace. “Japan intends to play an even greater and more proactive role than it has until now in making peace in Asia and the world something more certain.”
China stated in regards to Shari-La Dialogue, “In the field of security, China always believes that countries and parties concerned should build up mutual trust and cooperation through dialogue. China is actively advocating an Asian security concept featuring common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.”
“The Chinese delegation will have extensive contact with relevant parties, actively participate in various discussions and fully elaborate on China’s Asian security concept. They will work closely with relevant delegations and explore ways to jointly safeguard and promote peace,” China added in a regular foreign affairs press conference.
Shangri-La Dialogue is an inter-governmental security forum held annually at its meeting place Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore since 2002. It is attended by defense ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of 28 Asia-Pacific states which include Australia, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, East Timor, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.