News / Asia

Panetta: US Not Trying to Contain China

Luis Ramirez
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has told China the United States is not trying to contain it as Washington shifts forces to the Pacific. The U.S. official is wrapping up a visit aimed at easing suspicions on both sides.

It was a visit full of challenges for Panetta, who faced questions from the Chinese about U.S. intentions as it implements a new strategy that shifts much of its military focus to the Pacific.  

Panetta received hearty applause from cadets at a military academy in Beijing, where he sought to make clear what Washington's intentions are.

“Our rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region is not an attempt to contain China.  It is an attempt to engage China and expand its role in the Pacific.  It is about creating a new model in the relationship of two Pacific powers.  It is about renewing and revitalizing our role in a part of the world that is rapidly becoming more critical to our economic, diplomatic and security interests,” Panetta said.

A territorial dispute between China and Japan cast a shadow over his trip. The two countries claim a string of uninhabited but resource-rich islands in the East China Sea. They are known in Japan as the Senkaku and as Diaoyu to the Chinese.


  • U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, receives a plaque after he addresses cadets at the PLA Engineering Academy of Armored Forces in Beijing, China, September 19, 2012.
  • A cadet asks a question to U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta during his visit to the Engineering Academy of PLA Armored Forces in Beijing, China, September 19, 2012.
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta carries his lunch with cadets in the mess hall at the PLA Engineering Academy of Armored Forces in Beijing, China, September 19, 2012.
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, shakes hands with China's Vice President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, September 19, 2012.
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, walks with Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie during a ceremony at the Bayi Building in Beijing, China, September 18, 2012.
  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, left, listens to a question from U.S. military personnel stationed at Yokota Air Base in Yokota, Japan, September 17, 2012.
  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, right, and Japan's Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto smile at the end of a joint news conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo, Japan, September 17, 2012.


The dispute has triggered massive anti-Japanese demonstrations across China and raised concerns about a conflict that could indirectly draw in the United States, which has security agreements with Japan.

Panetta urged restraint and dialogue. The United States is officially neutral in the dispute.

In his remarks Wednesday, the defense secretary sought to reassure China that Washington calls on both sides - not just China - to avoid provocations.

“I've made very clear to Japanese leaders that they have a responsibility to resolve these issues peacefully and that's our position,” Panetta said.

The defense secretary stayed in Beijing a day longer than planned to meet with China's presumed future leader, Vice President Xi Jinping. It was Xi's first public appearance in two weeks. His absence had fueled speculation about his condition and whereabouts.

Throughout his three-day visit in the Chinese capital, Panetta called for more transparency from Beijing as it modernizes its military.  Chinese officials appeared to take a first step by inviting Panetta to visit the Chinese navy's North Sea Command headquarters in the port city of Qingdao - the first such visit by a U.S. defense secretary.

China is the second stop on Panetta's weeklong visit to Asia, which began in Japan last Sunday.  His final stop is New Zealand.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid