YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lashed out and criticized China for it’s secretive expansion of its military power. At a question-and-answer session with U.S. and Japanese troops at Yokota, Panetta said that despite coming budget cuts there will be no reduction in U.S. forces in Asia and the Pacific.
On the contrary, he said, the Obama administration intends to “strengthen our position” in the region.
“China is rapidly modernizing its military,” he wrote in Monday’s opinion piece, “but with a troubling lack of transparency, coupled with increasingly assertive activity in the East and South China Seas.”
He wrote that Japan and the U.S. would work together to “encourage China to play a responsible role in the international community.”
A day earlier, in Bali, Indonesia, Panetta offered more positive remarks about China. He told reporters that Beijing deserved praise for a relatively mild response to a $5.8 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan announced in September.