US has no plans to defend Diaoyu islands with Japan
Pentagon spokesman LT Col Jeff Pool said the
United States does not have a joint operation plan with Japan to defend the disputed Diaoyu (Senkaku or Diaoyutai) islands from a potential Chinese attack, reports the state-run China News Service.
The spokeman made the comments during a press conference held in Washington DC on Nov. 1, after being asked to discuss whether the United States would
support Japan against a People's Liberation Army assault over the islands.
Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported on Sep. 12 that the US reaffirmed its support for Japan over the islands during a meeting between William Burns, the US deputy secretary of state, and Natsuo Yamaguchi, a member of Japanese House of Councillors in Washington in September. At the meeting, Burns suggested that the islands are covered within the US-Japan Security Treaty, the Kyodo News said.
However, Pool dismissed the Japanese report and emphasized that it is not the policy of the US government to take any side regarding territorial disputes between China and Japan. He added that the United States instead encourages both sides to seek a peaceful solution. Echoing Pool, US state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also said that the United States takes no position on the sovereignty issue over the islands.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that she received similar clarifications from the US government during the press conference held on Nov. 1. There are currently no plans for the US military to support the Japan Self Defense Force in a military confrontation over the Diaoyu islands. However, the United States is obligated to defend the islands if attacked by China as they are covered by the US-Japan Security Treaty, sources said.
The Diaoyu islands, known in Japan as the Senkaku islands and in Taiwan as the Diaoyutai islands, are an island chain in the East China Sea claimed by the three parties but controlled by Japan, which nationalized three of the islands in September last year, a move condemned by Beijing as an illegal
appropriation of Chinese territory.
Hua Chunying 華春瑩