After cancelling a series of meetings with foreign dignitaries, China’s president-in-waiting Xi Jinping is to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Panetta on Wednesday amid swirling rumors about Xi’s health and an escalating territorial dispute between China and Japan. From Craig Whitlock at The Washington Post:
In addition to meeting Xi, Panetta is scheduled to visit a People’s Liberation Army naval base, give a speech to Chinese cadets and tour a submarine and frigate.
His arrival in China comes at a time of heightened security tensions in the region, as well as an ongoing effort by the Obama administration to reassert its strategic interests in Asia.
[…] Although Washington and Tokyo have repeatedly denied that the missile defenses are designed to counter China, the developments have heightened suspicions in Beijing that a secondary aim of the program is to contain China’s growing military power in the region.