U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday urged China to as much as possible, avoid confrontation and seek out a peaceful resolution with Japan and other countries over their maritime and territorial disputes. The Pentagon chief said on Wednesday that he has lodged his appeals to Beijing officials in an effort to defuse the various disagreements over China has over maritime territory.
Just last week, tensions rose to another level over an island dispute with Japan as a Chinese frigate had trained and locked its weapon-targeting radar on a Japanese warship in the East China Sea. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has since called the action “dangerous” and “provocative.” Panetta voiced his obvious concern, and said, “It’s the kind of situation where there are territorial claims that could ultimately get out of hand.” He was asked about tensions between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands after giving a speech at Georgetown University. Asia’s two largest economies and markets are battling over the sovereignty of an uninhabited island chain in the East China Sea, which China claims as their own and has called the islands the Diaoyus.
“One country or the other could react in a way that could create an even greater crisis. To the Chinese, I basically said, ‘It is in your interest to work with other countries to resolve these issues. Because if your interest is in a Pacific region that can be peaceful and that can prosper in the future, you have to be part of that,” Panetta said.[ via The Standard ]