Visiting PLA Lieutenant-General Ren Haiquin offered some stern thoughts on Asian security during a speech at the Chief of Army's annual conference in Melbourne last week. Though the overall tone of the speech wasn't quite as dire as you might think from this report, it certainly laid down some clear messages for an Australian audience. No one has run the full text of the speech yet, but here it is.
Lieutenant General Ren warned against the reincarnation of Cold War thinking and containment, something Australia's Chief of Defence has also cautioned against. But the following comments from Ren's speech elicited the strongest reactions:
China suffered a lot from foreign aggressions and suppression in the last century and for a long time to time I was so weak that it could not even protect its most basic sovereign rights and interests. Such experiences leave in Chinese people's hearts a long lasting and painful memory. To prevent repetition of this historical tragedy, China has no other choice but to develop proper military strength. ...Nowadays, some people refuse to accept the result of World War II, intend to deny the victory of international anti- fascism war and challenge post war international order. One should never forget history and should learn from history. Claims of the war ignited by fascist countries engulfed the whole region and many places including Darwin in Australia were bombed… "Pull of one hair may lead to the move of whole body". If such thing happens, it may lead to war, history may repeat itself and ordinary people would suffer once more.
The speech was delivered at Melbourne's Crown Casino. Those familiar with the venue will know that every hour, on the hour, a series of towers along the casino riverfront spew forth ten metre high flames. As luck would have it, just as Lieutenant-General Ren was making his well aimed remarks on the flames of war, loudly bellowing flames were lighting up his audience. The effect was nothing if not dramatic, and the Japanese attendees wasted no time in organising their departure.
Assess for yourself; the full text of the speech is here.