BEIJING — The defense chiefs of China and the U.S. faced off Tuesday over Beijing’s escalating territorial disputes in the region, with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel telling his Chinese counterparts they do not have the right to unilaterally establish an air defense zone over disputed islands with no consultation.
And, he said, America will protect Japan, the Philippines and other allies locked in disputes with China, as laid out in U.S. treaty obligations.
Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan said his country will not take the initiative to stir up troubles with Japan, but warned that Beijing is ready to use its military if needed to safeguard its territory. And, he said, the U.S. must “stay vigilant” against Japan’s actions and “not be permissive and supportive” of Tokyo.
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