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Pentagon: China May Help to Keep Peace in Pacific

Pentagon: China May Help to Keep Peace in Pacific 27.09.2012
Text: Vzglyad
Photo: George Little. obozrevatel.com
The US keeps tracing development of Chinese armed forces, said the Pentagon's spokesman George Little on Sept 25.

During his recent visit to Beijing, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told Chinese partners that according to America's belief China could play a very constructive part in maintaining of peace and stability in Asia-Pacific region, added Little.

He also pointed out that commissioning of the first Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning was not a surprise for the US.

That ship has been passing sea trials through recent months, and America attentively watches building of Chinese armed forces, said the Pentagon's spokesman.

Little pointed out that Washington was not taking any side in territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands located in the East China Sea; meeting with Chinese leaders, Panetta called to peaceful settlement of that conflict, reports ITAR-TASS.

Aircraft carrier Liaoning was handed over to Chinese Navy on Tuesday at Dalian shipyard in the presence of Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier of the State Council Wen Jiabao. The ship was built on the basis of non-completed Soviet aircraft-carrying cruiser Varyag bought from Ukraine late 90's.

American military experts believe the ship was commissioned at a quickened pace because of flare-up between China and Japan over the disputable islands. According to Western media, another aircraft carrier is being currently built in Shanghai.

Beijing considers Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands its own territory seized by Tokyo in wars late in 19-th century. Up to the recent time, four out of five islands belonged to private Japanese citizens. In Sept 2012, Tokyo bought three of them. As a result, almost all Senkaku Islands passed into Japan's state ownership.

Beijing reacted with heavy protests; Chinese patrol craft are currently deployed around the islands on the permanent basis. However, they avoid entering the zone declared by Japan as own territorial waters.

Mass protest actions took place in numerous Chinese towns against Japan's nationalization of the islands. Some protest actions resulted in attacks on Japanese companies and restaurants.

Earlier on, it was reported that Chinese deputy foreign minister Zhang Zhijun and his Japanese counterpart Chikao Kawai had launched consultations in Beijing over the disputable islands.

Meanwhile, a sea battle with water cannons occurred near the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands when Japanese patrol ships tried to expel Taiwan's vessels from the zone considered by Tokyo own territorial waters.

Chinese defense ministry confirmed on Sept 25 that the first national aircraft carrier Liaoning had been commissioned into the People's Liberation Army Navy.

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