News / Asia

US Defense Secretary Addresses Tension in Asia, Mideast

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, center,  steps off his jet after arriving at Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, center, steps off his jet after arriving at Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012.
x
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, center,  steps off his jet after arriving at Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, center, steps off his jet after arriving at Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012.
Luis Ramirez
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says anti-U.S. protests and violence in the Muslim world, sparked by a privately-made video, will likely continue but he says it appears to be leveling off. Panetta has begun a week-long visit to the Asia-Pacific region.  

He arrived in Tokyo looking to help ease tensions over territorial disputes between China and its neighbors.  But in a briefing to reporters, the questions were largely about anti-American violence across the Muslim world after the posting of a video, made in California, that is offensive to Islam.

“There continue to be some demonstrations, but it would appear that there is some leveling off on the violence that we thought might take place," said Panetta.  "Having said that, I think we have to continue to be very vigilant because I suspect that what we have seen, that these demonstrations are likely to continue over the next few days if not longer, and I think we are going to have to be vigilant in watching those areas and make sure that our personnel and our people are protected.”  

The Pentagon has moved two Navy ships to the coast of Libya, where an attack on the U.S. consulate last week killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.  Marine rapid response teams have also been deployed to Libya and Yemen.   

A third team was sent to Sudan, but was turned back by the Sudanese government. Panetta said Sudanese authorities believe their own forces can provide sufficient security to protect the U.S. Embassy there.  

For now, the defense secretary says there are no plans for further movements.  

“I think our approach right now is not to do anything until we have been requested by the State Department," said Panetta.  

Panetta visits Asia as tensions rise over territorial disputes between China and its neighbors in the East China Sea and South China Sea.   

“I am concerned that when these countries engage in provocations of one kind or another over these various islands that it raises the possibility that a misjudgment on one side or the other could result in violence and could result in conflict, and that conflict would then have the potential of expanding," said Panetta.  "

Panetta is to meet with Japan's defense minister and others on Monday to discuss the disputes and offer reassurances of U.S. support for dialogue.  

Later, the U.S. defense secretary goes to Beijing, where he will urge Chinese leaders to engage in a process with its neighbors to peacefully resolve territorial disputes.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid