'China has to be part of family, not threaten nations'



Washington: China has to be part of a family of nations working to ensure peace and prosperity in the Pacific region and cannot be a country that threatens to go after territories and creates disputes, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said.

"It cannot be a China that threatens, to go after their territories and create territorial disputes. They have to be part of a family of nations in that region, working together in order to ensure peace and prosperity," Panetta said at the Georgetown University.

"I sense in the new leadership in China that they recognise the importance of trying to develop that kind of communication. I urged them that we should discuss cyber issues. I urged them that we ought to discuss missile defense issues. And they indicated that they were willing to engage in those kinds of strategic talks," he said.

"But it is going to be very important for China to know that the US, Japan, Korea and other countries in that part of the world are going to do everything they have to do to promote security and prosperity, and that they should be a part of that, not against it," Panetta said.

Responding to a question, Panetta urged both the Japanese and Chinese to exercise good judgment and to try and work with each other to resolve issues peacefully.

"We are in the Pacific. This is a big region. And part of our reason to re-balance to the Pacific is because we think that in many ways our future economic security, our trade relationships, our security relationships are going to be critical in that part of the world," he said.

The US has great allies in Japan and South Korea, other countries are working with it to deal with the challenges, Panetta said.

"There are a set of common challenges here and I said this to the Chinese leaders as well. We've got a set of common challenges here. One is our ability to respond to disasters in that part of the world -- the ability of these countries to be able to react when a disaster takes place," he said.

"The ability to deal with the threat of missile proliferation, particularly in North Korea, and the threat that represents to the security of that region," Panetta said. "The ability to deal with piracy; the ability to deal with cyber issues; the ability to deal with the kind of economic issues that all of us have to be a part in order to provide security; the ability to deal with territorial disputes," Panetta added.

"That's why the ASEAN nations are a really critical new kind of alliance that we ought to continue to support and encourage to address those issues," Panetta said.

"But to the Chinese, I basically said, 'It is in your interest to work with other countries to resolve these issues. Because if your interest is in a Pacific region that can be peaceful and that can prosper in the future, you have to be part of that'," the US Defence Secretary said.

PTI