U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited China on Sept. 17. His Asia-Pacific trip has attracted worldwide attention, given the importance of Sino-US relations and growing tensions between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands issue.
It is another visit of the senior U.S. official to China after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concluded her trip to China in early September. A senior Pentagon official said on Sept. 14 that Panetta’s visit to Japan, China and New Zealand shows U.S. willingness to conduct extensive communication and increase presence in Asia Pacific, as well as continue to play an important role in the region.
The Japanese government’s recent “nationalization” of China’s Diaoyu Islands has violated China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, evoked anger of Chinese people and pushed bilateral relations to the edge of crisis. Analysts believe that the Diaoyu Islands issue cannot be neglected in Panetta’s Asia-Pacific trip.
The Japanese parties have taken the Diaoyu Islands issue as a political point in the election due to the rapid expansion of the right-wing force and low support for Prime Minister. It has worsened the intense China-Japan relations and aroused concerns among other Asian countries.
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