Panetta talks tough about China, North Korea
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta departs Bali headed toward Tokyo after two days of meetings with officials from nearly a dozen southeast Asian nations
October 24th, 2011
10:19 AM ET

Panetta talks tough about China, North Korea

By Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughnessy traveling with the secretary of defense in Tokyo, Japan

One day after praising China for the way it has responded to issues like the U.S. sale of arms to Taiwan, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's comments turned more serious and stern Monday.

In an op-ed published in Japan's largest daily newspaper, Panetta wrote, "China is rapidly modernizing its military, but with a troubling lack of transparency."

He went on to criticize China's dealings with some of its neighbors, focusing on China's "increasingly assertive activity in the East and South China Seas."

"Together, the U.S. and Japan will work to... encourage China to play a responsible role in the international community," Panetta wrote.

Just the day before the op-ed was published, Panetta told reporters, "I would commend them (China) for the way that they've handled the news of that sale to Taiwan."

The United States announced a $5.3 billion arms package for Taiwan last month, which includes upgrades to Taiwan's F-16 fighter fleet.

On the same day U.S. and North Korean officials are meeting in Geneva to negotiate a return to talks about North Korea's nuclear weapons program, the defense secretary criticized North Korean for being among countries characterized by "reckless" behavior.

"These include North Korea, which continues to engage in reckless and provocative behavior and is developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, which pose a threat not just to Japan but to the entire region," he wrote in the same opinion piece.

"Together, the U.S. and Japan will work to bring North Korea back to the Six Party Talks."

Panetta attended a series of meetings Sunday in Bali, Indonesia with fellow defense ministers from southeast Asia.

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Filed under: Asia • China • Indonesia • Japan • Military • North Korea • Nuclear • Panetta • South Korea
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Aristocles

    Actually, the federal reserve hold 50% of the US debt; China holds about 6-7%. All other foreigners hold about 18-19%. The American people (individuals and other private parties) hold about 25%.

    October 26, 2011 at 8:10 am | Reply
  2. Mike Houston

    Panetta wrote, "China is rapidly modernizing its military, but with a troubling lack of transparency."

    He went on to criticize China's dealings with some of its neighbors, focusing on China's "increasingly assertive activity in the East and South China Seas."

    Panneta, by this time, ought to recognize that China is never going to be "transparent" about anything, much less its
    military intentions anywhere. And China, as its economy succeeds, is bound to become "assertive" everywhere,
    not just in the East and South China seas...

    October 26, 2011 at 12:34 am | Reply
  3. Mike Houston

    I see the China defenders (and face-saver-apologists) and U.S.A-bashers are "first responders" here.
    That's to be expected I suppose...

    October 26, 2011 at 12:18 am | Reply
  4. marc

    "Together, the U.S. and Japan will work to... encourage China to play a responsible role in the international community," Panetta wrote.

    Yeah, like the US invading another country on the fabricated charge of WMDs? We kill on average far more in one day than china has in 30 years. (china hasn't been in any foreign war for over 30 years)

    October 25, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Reply
    • CelestialOne

      "US and Japan will work to ..." I doubt Japan wants to get involved with any of US bird brained schemes. Japan will need to be extra careful because there are still unsettled scores they have with their neighbor.

      October 30, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply
  5. Nomi

    American politicians or officials tend to talk a lot but action always seem lacking.

    October 25, 2011 at 12:50 am | Reply
    • James

      @Nomi, how are they supposed to respond in action? we already have the best army in the world, dont go into the debt thing because it has nothing to do with it and yes china is our SECOND biggest debt holder behind the american people.

      October 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Reply

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