blogs.wsj.com / View Original / June 2nd, 2014
A Chinese ship, left, shoots a water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel, right, while a Chinese Coast Guard ship, center, sails alongside in the South China Sea off Vietnam’s coast on May 7, 2014.
Photo by: Associated Press
A Chinese general used a regional security conference this weekend to tell a global audience that U.S. rhetoric about the South China Sea risks provoking Beijing.
For the Chinese language audience, the general used language saltier — and perhaps more provocative — words to describe how he feels about U.S. power.
Maj. Gen Zhu Chenghu, a professor at the National Defense University, made the remarks in an interview with Chinese-language Phoenix TV at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore Saturday.
He suggested that if China came to blows with any of its neighbors, the U.S. might not be a reliable ally.
“As U.S. power declines, Washington needs to rely on its allies in order to reach its goal of containing China’s development,” he told the TV station.
“But whether it will get involved or use military intervention once there is a territorial dispute involving China and its neighbors, that is another issue,” he added.
He said that this depended on the U.S. ability to project power, citing Ukraine as an example.
He said, “we can see from the situation in Ukraine this kind of ED” –which he explained in Chinese was a military abbreviation for something that may have meant “extended deployment” – “has become the male type of ED problem – erectile dysfunction.”
Mr. Zhu was one of several Chinese military officials who reacted angrily to remarks of U.S. defense secretary Chuck Hagel, who accused China of taking destabilizing actions in the South China Sea.
Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV has close ties to Beijing and much of its audience is in mainland China.
China’s stance on its maritime claims in the South China Sea has led it into disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines. A standoff over a Chinese drilling rig in waters claimed by Hanoi led to deadly anti-Chinese rioting in Vietnam in May.
Maj. Gen Zhu is no stranger to controversy. In 2005 he came under criticism for remarks that China would have no option but to go nuclear in the event of a conflict over Taiwan. U.S. officials called the remarks irresponsible and the Chinese foreign ministry backed away from them as well.
– William Kazer