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

    Multimedia US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora