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Is Panetta's visit to China rewarding?

(People's Daily Online)

16:08, September 24, 2012

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (R) meets with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 19, 2012. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ended his first visit to China on Sept. 20. Panetta is the first U.S. defense secretary in office to visit the headquarters of China's North Sea Fleet and also one of the very few foreign military leaders embarking on Chinese diesel submarines.

It is worth noting that Panetta had invited Chinese leaders to participate in the 2014 U.S.-led Pacific Rim maritime exercise during the visit. Wu Xinbo, vice president with School of International Relations and Public Affairs under Fudan University, said that China had participated in the previous Pacific Rim maritime exercises as an observer but never sent any warships. The United States wants to pose an attitude through the invitation that its strategy of "rebalance" in the Asia-Pacific region is not directed against China.

Panetta also said in his visit that the United States is not trying to contain China, but is attempting to enhance the contact with China, and it hopes to create a new model for the relationship between two Pacific powers by means of the "rebalance" strategy.

Li Xiaoning, research fellow at Peking University's China Center for Strategic Studies, pointed out that China will not just listen to what the United States says, it will watch what it does.

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