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Pentagon chief, Chinese military chiefs trade warnings and rebukes

Published on Apr 8, 2014 8:31 PM
 
US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel (left) and Chinese Minister of Defence Chang Wanquan (right) attend a news conference at the Chinese Defence Ministry headquarters in Beijing on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Visiting US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chinese military chiefs traded warnings and rebukes on Tuesday as they clashed over Beijing's territorial disputes with its neighbours, North Korea's missile programme and cyber espionage. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - Visiting US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chinese military chiefs traded warnings and rebukes on Tuesday as they clashed over Beijing's territorial disputes with its neighbours, North Korea's missile programme and cyber espionage.

Both sides were clearly at odds over a litany of issues, despite Mr Hagel and his counterpart General Chang Wanquan calling for more dialogue between the world's strongest and largest militaries, with the American coming under hostile questioning from a roomful of People's Liberation Army officers.

One member of the audience told Mr Hagel the United States feared China's rise and was sowing trouble among its Pacific neighbours to "hamper" Beijing because one day "China will be too big a challenge for the United States to cope with".

The Pentagon chief denied the US was trying to hold China back but the tough questioning contrasted with the deferential reception given to his predecessor Leon Panetta at a similar event two years ago.

 
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