China’s Defence Minister says Beijing reserves the right to take further action against Japan in the ongoing dispute over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

Gen. Liang Guanglie says Japan should bear full responsibility for the dispute, which has triggered violent protests in China against the Japanese. U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, who met with the general Tuesday, has been pressing both Gen. Liang and defence leaders in Japan to find ways to resolve the problem peacefully and diplomatically.

During a press conference with Mr. Panetta, Gen. Liang said he hopes the Japanese government “will undo its mistakes and come back to the right track of negotiations.” Tensions over the islands spiked last week when the Japanese government said it was purchasing some of them from their private owner.

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