The vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Defence Minister Chang Wanquan, took umbrage at Hagel's comments made at the Asean defence ministers meeting about the Daiyu islands controversy ("The Chinese people, including myself, are dissatisfied with such remarks"). In Hawaii, Hagel actually said he would "prod" Chinese leaders towards responsible behavior. Given the sensitivity of the topic, even a Facebook "poke" may not be welcomed.
China's pugnacity may have been encouraged by a contribution to the April 14, 2014 issue of Forbes. The author is a politician from Singapore:
"China’s reliance on historical claims necessitates considering what its fleets did in the past, way before Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas and Vasco da Gama arrived in India. More than six centuries ago Emperor Zhu Di of the Ming Dynasty sent out a large fleet of trading ships to explore and trade with the rest of the world. His choice to command the expedition was Grand Eunuch Zheng He (1371–1433). Zheng He was born and raised a Muslim in what is now Kunming City in Yunnan Province. He was captured by Ming Dynasty forces around 1381 and taken to Nanjing, where he was castrated and subsequently sent to serve in the palace of Zhu Di, who was then the Prince of Yan and would later become Yongle Emperor.
Over the course of nearly three decades (1405–33) Zheng He led seven westward expeditions, which were unprecedented in size and range. They spanned the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, and reached as far as the east coast of Africa. The ships used for these expeditions–more than 400 feet in length, based on archaeological evidence–were many times the size of those Columbus used to sail across the Atlantic.
These expeditions amply demonstrated the power and wealth of the Ming Dynasty. More important, they left a lasting impact on the countries visited: Numerous masjids (mosques) in the region are named after Zheng He, commemorating his contributions to the local communities.
If historical claims can define jurisdiction over waters and oceans, the Chinese can point to the fact that 600 years ago they sailed these waters unchallenged."
The aforementioned Ming dynasty (1368–1644), despite all its glory years, was finally considered to have lost the Mandate of Heaven and collapsed before the rebel leader Li Zicheng and a Manchurian invasion.