http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/china-japan-heading-towards-war-says-us-defence-secretary-leon-panetta/story-e6frg6so-1226475484583CHINA 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.
“And that conflict would then have the potential of expanding.”
The Pentagon chief’s trip coincides with an escalating row between Asia’s two largest economies over an archipelago in the East China Sea administered by Tokyo under the name Senkaku and claimed by China under the name Diaoyu.
Tensions have steadily mounted since pro-Beijing activists were arrested and deported after landing on one of the islands in August. Japanese nationalists then followed, raising their flag on the same island days later.
On Tuesday, Japan announced it had nationalised three of the islands in the chain, triggering protests in China. Tokyo already owns another and leases the fifth.
The uninhabited islands are in important sea lanes and the seabed nearby is thought to harbour valuable mineral resources.
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