» 09/19/2012 CHINA - USA A first for Xi Jinping: meeting with Panetta on military cooperation by Wang Zhicheng Xi Jinping reappears after two weeks of absence fueled with speculation about his health and Party struggles. The U.S. Secretary of Defense proposes a strengthening of ties between "the two great nations of the Pacific." The invitation to participate in a naval military exercise in Hawaii. The U.S. claim role as guarantors of peace in the Pacific Ocean. China buys Treasury bonds and holds the top spot as foreign holder of U.S. debt: 1150 billion.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - After nearly two weeks of absence, Vice-President Xi Jinping
has reappeared in his first high-level meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon
Panetta. The talk's agenda concentrated
on closer military cooperation, and an increased U.S. presence in the Pacific. Meanwhile,
China has bought more U.S.
treasury bonds its holdings now up to 1.15 trillion dollars.
Xi Jinping met his host in the setting of the Great Hall of the People, replete
with chandeliers and chairs. In recent weeks, the almost certain successor to
Hu Jintao as president and secretary of the Party, had canceled several
meetings with leaders of foreign countries, giving rise to waves of rumors
about a possible serious illness or increased struggle within the Party. Today
he appeared healthy and relaxed.
Panetta arrived in Beijing to push for a
strengthening of ties between China
and the U.S.,
"the two great nations of the Pacific", especially in the military
field. As a sign of friendship, he announced that the United States
will invite a Chinese ship to participate in naval exercises to be held in 2014 in the Hawaiian sea.
Panetta's visit to Beijing is part of a
week-long trip, which also includes Japan
and New Zealand.
It aims to increase the presence of U.S. forces in the region. Although
many countries look to the U.S.
presence as a deterrent to the expansionist Chinese, Panetta said that the
increase in U.S. military
personnel in the Pacific is not dictated by the wish to contain Beijing, but "engage China and expand its role in Pacific.
" "The aim is to create - he said - a new model in the relations
between our two powers in the Pacific."
As Panetta arrived in Beijing tension mounted between
China and Japan over the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands
/ Senkaku. The U.S. Defense Secretary appealed for calm on both sides and
described US policy as based on "basic principles" including free commerce, the
rule of law, open access to sea, air, space, and cyberspace, and resolving
disputes "peacefully without coercion or the use of force . He also showed that
U.S. hegemony in the Pacific
over the past 60 years had
helped bring prosperity to the region and that China had profited from it.
China, however, is not satisfied
regarding shipping routes and unhappy over some claims of sovereignty not only
for the Diaoyu, but also for the Spratly
On the other hand, Beijing has increased its
leadership as the biggest foreign owner of U.S. debt. In July, it acquired
still 2.6 billion dollars in United
States treasury bonds, reaching a market
share of 1.15 trillion dollars. For three months, China had not bought any bonds. According
to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, in July, Beijing
recorded a 29.4 billion dollar trade surplus with the U.S. in July,
pushing the year-to-date amount to 174.4 billion.