Tokyo, April 7 (IANS) US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel Sunday urged China not to take unilateral action to resolve territorial disputes with its neighbours, saying Beijing must use its "great power" responsibly.
"Great powers have great responsibilities. And China is a great power," Press TV quoted Hagel as saying during a visit to Japan, which has a territorial dispute with Beijing over islands in the East China Sea.
The US secretary of defence will leave for a three-day visit to China Monday.
Hagel said he wanted to talk with China about its use of military power. "I will be talking with the Chinese about respect for their neighbours. Coercion, intimidation is a very deadly thing that leads only to conflict," he said. "All nations, all people deserve respect."
Beijing claims the South China Sea in its entirety, while other countries including the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam also have claims to the area and are in dispute with China.
China and Japan have been locked in a dispute for more than a decade over the sovereignty of uninhabited islands in the South China Sea -- what are called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan -- which are believed to have vast natural resources.