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Leon Panetta holds ‘defence talks’ with China’s ‘future leader’ Xi Jinping in Beijing

London, Sep 19 (ANI): US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has met with China’s leader-to-be Xi Jinping, who emerged after a puzzling two-week disappearance.

The meeting was part of Panetta’s week-long trip through Asia Pacific, in a campaign to pursue the US military’s increased focus on the region.

Xi said Panetta’s visit “will be very helpful in further advancing the state-to-state and military-to-military relations between our two countries,” the Daily Express reports.

Panetta told Xi that the two Pacific powers have common concerns and that he is confident they will be able to improve their dialogue.

According to the paper, US and China have long had a tumultuous relationship, fuelled by America’s distrust of Beijing’s military build-up and China’s concerns about the expanded US military presence.

In repeated statements this week, Panetta has stressed that the new focus on Asia is not aimed at China. But the US has had persistent concerns about China’s growing economic and trade dominance in the region, the paper said.

Panetta’s visit, however, comes as violent protests raged around the country, over a territorial dispute between China and Japan, it added. (ANI)