“Defense Secretary Panetta departs on a trip to China, Japan and New Zealand as part of a US bid to shift towards the region despite crises in the Middle East.
Panetta’s trip to Asia coincides with mounting friction between China and its neighbours over territorial disputes. In the potentially resource-rich East China Sea, Beijing and Tokyo have clashed over disputed islands. And in the South China Sea, the Philippines and Vietnam have accused China of a wave of intimidation.
Before his visit to China, Panetta will fly to Japan, where China’s stance is expected to top the agenda as well as US plans to deploy tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft at an American military base on Okinawa. The plan to move 12 Osprey aircraft to the southern island has sparked major protests but US officials have no intention of scrapping the idea.” — Copyright 2012 Business Recorder