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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora