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Xi slams Diaoyu 'purchase'

By Zhao Shengnan, Qin Zhongwei and Wu Jiao  (China Daily)

08:43, September 20, 2012

Vice-president warns Tokyo not to undermine territorial sovereignty

Vice-President Xi Jinping on Wednesday said Japan's "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands was "a farce" and warned Japan to stop any action that infringes on China's sovereignty.

"Japan should rein in its behavior, not utter any words and prevent any acts that undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Xi said in a meeting with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

The Pentagon chief's first visit to China since taking office coincided with escalating tension between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands.

The Japanese government announced its decision to "purchase" the islands last week.

Japan's "purchase" openly challenged the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation and intensified regional territorial disputes, Xi said.

During a series of meetings with State and military leaders, including Xi, Panetta reiterated that the United States does not take positions over, what he termed, territorial disputes concerning the islands and called for all sides to be calm and show restraint to avoid confrontation.

Addressing students at the military's Engineering Academy in Beijing on Wednesday, Panetta also sought to convince Beijing that the US strategic "pivot" to the Asia-Pacific region is not to contain China, amid concerns that Washington's increasing presence encourages its allies, like Tokyo, to engage in provocative behavior.

The US rebalance in the region "is an attempt to engage China and expand its role in the Pacific", he said. "It is about creating a new model in the relationship of two Pacific powers.''

Panetta's remarks represent the latest effort by the US to build stronger military relations with the People's Liberation Army, said AFP, while analysts said the US stance toward China and Japan is often contradictory and its fundamental goal is to maintain a dominating role in international affairs.

Before arriving in Beijing, Panetta started his weeklong Asia trip with a visit to Japan.

While he was there, Tokyo and Washington agreed to install a second missile-defense radar system and the MV-22 Osprey military aircraft was given the go-ahead to begin flight operations in Japan on Wednesday.

Washington says the Diaoyu Islands fall under the US-Japan security treaty and this is a severe interference in Chinese territorial sovereignty, said Liu Jiangyong, a specialist on Japanese studies at Tsinghua University.

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