Pentagon, United States (4E) – China’s Defense Minister General Chang Wanquan, who is on an official visit to the United States, on Monday expressed his government’s determination to not make any concessions when it comes to its core interests in the region.
The minister said that Beijing would not hesitate to defend its maritime rights, referring to a territorial dispute it has with regional ASEAN member nations.
Speaking at a joint news conference at the Pentagon, Gen Chang said that China always insisted on resolving dispute through negotiation. “However, no one should fantasize that China would barter away our core interests, and no one should underestimate our will and determination in defending our territory, sovereignty and maritime rights,” he said.
Responding to China’s determination, Hagel said that Washington would remain neutral in case where sovereignty questions arose. However, he requested his Chinese counterpart to resolve the matter peacefully and diplomatically.
During his meeting with General Wanquan that lasted for more than three hours, Pentagon Chief Chuck Hagel noted that the military relations between the two countries were gradually improving.
China claims sovereignty over all resource-rich islands in the South China Sea. It is also at loggerheads with Japan over another territorial row in the East China Sea.