September 17, 2012

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta shakes hands with China’s Chief of the General’s Staff Ma Xiao Tian (R) as U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (C) watches at Beijing International Airport, September 17, 2012.

China and other Asian countries could end up at war over territorial disputes if governments keep up their “provocative behaviour”, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said.

Speaking to reporters before arriving in Tokyo on a trip to Asia, Mr Panetta appealed for restraint amid mounting tensions over territorial rights in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.

“I am concerned that when these countries engage in provocations of one kind or another over these various islands, that it raises the possibility that a misjudgment on one side or the other could result in violence, and could result in conflict,” Mr Panetta said, when asked about a clash between Japan and China.

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