Hillary Clinton, the United States Secretary of State, warned China not to challenge Japan’s control of disputed Senkaku islands, while Japan’s government promised not to aggravate tensions.
On Friday Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met with Clinton on the first trip by a top Japanese official since Japan’s conservatives returned to power last month.
Regarding Senkaku islands, Clinton said that since the area is under Japan’s control, it is hence protected under a US security treaty with Tokyo.
“We oppose any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration,” Clinton said. She did not mention Beijing directly in the warning, but said: “We want to see China and Japan resolve this matter peacefully through dialogue.”
“We do not want to see any action taken by anyone that could raise tensions or result in miscalculation that would undermine the peace, security and economic growth in this region,” she added.
China described the US position as a “betrayal” and entered the Japanese territorial waters surrounding the islands several hours after Clinton’s veiled warning.
“The Chinese are trying to change the existing order by coercion or intimidation,” Japanese foreign ministry spokesman said, while the official Chinese news agency Xinhua stated that Washington’s position “casts doubts on (US) credibility as a responsible power in the region”.
The United States proved to be “unwise to throw support behind Japan in Tokyo’s islands dispute with Beijing”, according to Xinhua. “This unbalanced position has betrayed America’s declared intention to stay neutral on the issue,” the Chinese news agency added.