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Panetta meets with China's Xi, eats lunch with cadets

Larry Downing / Pool via Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta carries his lunch with cadets in the mess hall at the PLA Engineering Academy of Armored Forces in Beijing, Sept. 19.

Larry Downing / Pool via Reuters

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has lunch with cadets in the mess hall at the PLA Engineering Academy of Armored Forces on Sept. 19 in Beijing, China.

Larry Downing / Pool via Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, sits with China's Vice President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Sept. 19.

Panetta met with Chinese leader-in-waiting Xi today, who just days ago reappeared after a puzzling two-week absence. Panetta told the press his “impression was that he was very healthy and very engaged." He also ate lunch with and spoke to cadets at the Armored Forces Engineering Academy where he reassured them about America's plans to put a second radar system in Japan. "Our rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region is not an attempt to contain China," he said. "It is an attempt to engage China and expand its role in the Pacific. It is about creating a new model in the relationship of two Pacific powers."

Panetta is on the second stop of a three nation tour to Japan, China and New Zealand.

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