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10:39, September 19, 2012

Beijing stresses peaceful solution
Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie (R) hosts a welcoming ceremony for U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 18, 2012. Liang Guanglie held talks with Leon Panetta in Beijing on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
Military leaders meet Panetta and urge Washington not to take sides

China told Japan and the United States on Tuesday that it hopes the Diaoyu Islands issue can be resolved peacefully but Beijing reserves the right to "take further action".

Top military officials made the comments during a meeting with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The Pentagon chief is visiting China for the first time.

Defense Minister Liang Guanglie, during a joint news briefing with Panetta, said China urged Washington to honor its promise of not taking sides.

Panetta arrived in Beijing on Monday evening following a visit to Japan. His visit to Beijing, including talks with senior military and government leaders, has coincided with an eruption in tension between China and Japan over the islands, which have belonged to China for centuries.

Tokyo said it completed a "purchase" of the islands last week.

The move has sparked protests across China. Analysts said if Washington continues its stance by further encouraging Tokyo's provocations, Panetta's "mediation" will hardly ease the situation.
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