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U.S. needs to fulfill "not-taking-sides" commitment over Diaoyu Islands

By Wang Aihua (Xinhua)

09:11, September 19, 2012

BEIJING, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- As China and Japan are stuck in an escalating tension over the Diaoyu Islands, the U.S. needs to show with convincing moves that it "does not take sides" in the dispute, for the sake of regional peace and stability.

Washington has said once and again that it does not take sides in the dispute, a commitment that was also reiterated by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who is in Beijing for a four-day visit to China. It is the second leg of his week-long Asia-Pacific tour that also brings him to Japan and New Zealand.

Panetta said during talks with Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie on Tuesday that East Asia maritime issues should be resolved via peaceful diplomatic means.

However, during his Japan visit, Panetta discussed with his Japanese counterpart Satoshi Morimoto the deployment of the Osprey aircraft at a Marine base in Okinawa, a plan that has provoked strong local opposition.

Earlier on the same day, Panetta announced the U.S. and Japan had agreed to locate the second U.S. missile defense radar in Japan to monitor possible threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Although the moves are said to be not targeted at China, military boost from the U.S. at such a sensitive moment could embolden Japan to take a tougher stance in the tensions with China, which is not only unhelpful in resolving the issue, but also dangerous.

Regarding the Diaoyu Islands, the Chinese government has always followed a guideline proposed by the country's late leader Deng Xiaoping and described as "laying aside differences and engaging in joint exploitation."

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