Panetta seeks closer Sino-US ties as China military expands

By REUTERS
September 16, 2012 13:41

 
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TOKYO - US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will look for ways to deepen US military relations with China during a visit to Asia this week, even as he works to bolster US alliances in the region as part of a strategic shift that Beijing views with concern.

Panetta, who arrived in Tokyo on Sunday on his third trip to Asia since becoming defense secretary, will discuss the realignment of US military basing in Japan and expanding ballistic missile defense cooperation before heading to Beijing to try to deepen and broaden military-to-military ties.

He wraps up his visit with defense cooperation talks in New Zealand.

Senior US and Chinese defense officials have made an effort to push their military relationship forward since it resumed a year and a half ago after a bitter break over US arms sales to self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing views as a breakaway province.

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