The top Chinese military officer on Thursday launched a tirade against the U.S. in a meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin. Chinese Chief of General Staff Chen Bingde lambasted Washington for some 15 minutes right after the two sat down to talks at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.
"Being a superpower, the U.S. says this or that to other countries, but it never listens when other countries express themselves in a similar way," Korean officials quoted Chen as saying. He added "some actions and expressions" by the U.S. indicate that it is trying to dominate other countries.
Chen said South Korea too "must have felt the same way" despite its alliance with the U.S., but added he quite understood if Seoul "finds it difficult to be as frank with the U.S. as it would like."
Chen also complained about a recent visit by the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, saying Washington and Beijing fretted endlessly over protocol in advance. "Such meticulous preparations signify bad bilateral relations. I don't think Seoul and Washington would make the careful and meticulous preparations we did if Mullen goes to Seoul, because they are allies."
The outburst put Seoul in an awkward position and apparently aimed at repaying South Korea for complaining about China's close relations with North Korea, observes speculate.
Kim tried to defuse the situation by suggesting Seoul and Beijing "strengthen bilateral military exchanges and cooperation," according to a Defense Ministry official.
Chen then expressed hope that a South Korean Navy vessel will visit China, adding the details can be left to working-level officials.
Earlier on, Kim paid a call on Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and asked him to ensure that five family members of a South Korean prisoner of war who recently fled from North Korea to China make it safely to South Korea.