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China "dissatisfied" with Hagel's remarks

BEIJING, April 8 (Xinhua) -- China is "dissatisfied" with remarks made by U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel in an ASEAN defence ministers meeting and in Japan, a Chinese military leader said here Tuesday.

The straightforward comment came when Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission, met with Hagel.

"I can tell you frankly, your remarks made in the ASEAN defence ministers meeting and to Japanese politicians were tough, and with a clear attitude. The Chinese people, including myself, are dissatisfied with such remarks," he told Hagel at the presence of the press.

In an interview with Japan's Nikkei newspaper on Saturday, Hagel criticized China's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea as provocative and unilateral.

Last week, Hagel hosted talks with defense ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Hawaii, where he also brought up topics of growing U.S. concern about territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

On the Diaoyu Islands issue, the U.S. has repeatedly said it took no position but Secretary Hagel has publicly backed Japan's claim and welcomed Japan's review of the self-defense aspect of its constitution, Fan said.

On the South China Sea issue, China holds a consistent claim and is backed by historical evidence. "But Secretary Hagel is partial to the Philippines and pointed fingers at China, though the Philippines occupied some of China's reefs," Fan said.

Fan blamed U.S. House of Representatives passage of a Taiwan-related bill to stir cross-strait trouble, which is "totally wrong", despite the peaceful development momentum for the cross-strait situation.

"China hopes the U.S. can be a responsible great power and do more to promote regional stability and the friendship between the two countries and militaries," Fan said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama met during the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands not long ago and reaffirmed the building of a new model of relationship between big countries, Fan said.

Fan called on the Chinese and U.S. militaries to cherish development and move forward stable and healthy growth of a new model of military relations.

Hagel thanked Fan for being straightforward and candid. Both sides were committed to strengthening their military relations and properly handling differences.

The U.S. has had a One-China policy since 1979 and supports the peaceful reunification of Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. A bill by a particular committee of congress does not represent government policy, Hagel said.

Hagel restated the U.S. did not take any position on sovereignty disputes and hoped problems would be resolved peacefully through diplomatic means in the name of regional security and stability.

Hagel is the first U.S. defence secretary to visit China since Fan took office.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, Chinese State Councillor and Defence Minister Chang Wanquan held talks with Hagel.

Hagel is on a ten-day visit to Japan, China and Mongolia.

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