Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015

Hagel's tough talk gives China pause ahead of Obama's Asia trip

Published on Apr 9, 2014 8:35 PM
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel gives a speech at the National Defense University in Beijing on April 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - In one of the many frank exchanges US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel had in China this week, General Fan Changlong told him how one of his uncles died as a slave in a Japanese mine during World War Two.

General Fan, the deputy head of China's powerful Central Military Commission, spoke about the lessons of history, signalling Beijing's concerns that the United States was siding with Japan against China.

Mr Hagel replied by saying his own father had helped fight Japanese forces in World War Two.

"The secretary made it very clear that we should be informed by history but not driven by it," a US official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity to recount a conversation on Tuesday that he described as terse.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!