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US position on Japan island dispute a 'betrayal': China
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jan 19, 2013


China 'strongly dissatisfied' with US island remarks
Beijing (AFP) Jan 20, 2013 - China said it was "strongly dissatisfied" Sunday after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a veiled warning to Beijing not to challenge Tokyo's control of disputed islands at the centre of a bitter territorial row.

China is "strongly dissatisfied with and resolutely opposes" the remarks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement on the ministry's website.

The maritime dispute, which has simmered off and on for years, intensified last year when the Japanese government nationalised islands in the small chain it did not already own, triggering angry responses in China.

China has since increased maritime and air patrols near the East China Sea territory, and in further escalations in recent weeks both Beijing and Tokyo have scrambled fighter jets, though there have been no clashes.

"We urge the US side to treat the issue of the Diaoyu islands with a responsible attitude," Qin said, referring to the territory by its Chinese name. Japan calls the islands the Senkakus.

He also called for Washington to be "careful in words, cautious in actions" and to take "realistic actions to protect the peace and stability of the region and Chinese-US relations".

Qin's statement came after Clinton on Friday said the US opposed "any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration" of the islands.

Clinton, speaking at a press conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington, did not mention Beijing directly but said she wanted China and Japan to settle the issue peacefully.

"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 said.

The US insists it is neutral on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands but also says they are under Japan's de facto administration.

China has persistently criticised the US position and Beijing's sending of maritime surveillance ships to the potentially gas-rich area is seen by experts as a way to contest the notion of Japanese control.

Complicating the issue is a security treaty that obliges the US -- which keeps military bases in Japan -- to aid the country in the event it is attacked.

Another factor that has raised tensions is the coming to power last month of hawkish Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose party won a landslide victory in elections.

Last week, state media said China will carry out a geographical survey of the islands and also reported that China's armed forces have been instructed to raise their fighting ability in 2013 with "the objective of being able to fight and win a battle".

China's official reaction to Clinton's comments came a day after state media harshly criticised them.

The official Xinhua news agency called it "unwise" for Washington "to throw support behind Japan in Tokyo's islands dispute with Beijing", adding: "This unbalanced position has betrayed its declared intention to stay neutral on the issue."

Veiled US warnings to Beijing not to challenge Japan's control of disputed islands encouraged Tokyo's "dangerously right-leaning" government and "betrayed" Washington's vow of neutrality, Chinese state media said Saturday.

The comments came as Japan's coastguard said three Chinese government ships had entered Japanese territorial waters around the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said the area around the islands in the East China Sea was under Japan's control and therefore protected under a US security treaty with Tokyo.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington, and without mentioning Beijing directly, she said the US opposed "any unilateral actions" to undermine Japanese authority over the islands.

But in a commentary piece, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua criticised Washington's position, saying it "cast doubts on (US) credibility as a responsible power in the region".

It was "unwise" for Washington "to throw support behind Japan in Tokyo's islands dispute with Beijing", Xinhua said, adding: "This unbalanced position has betrayed its declared intention to stay neutral on the issue."

The US proposal for "tighter military alliance with Japan will only encourage Tokyo's dangerously right-leaning tendency", Xinhua said.

But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang was quoted by the agency as saying that Beijing "has always advocated to resolve issues between relevant countries through bilateral dialogue and by peaceful means".

Three Chinese government surveillance vessels sailed in waters around the disputed islands Saturday for nearly five hours but had all left Japanese waters by 1:52 pm (0452 GMT), the Japan coastguard said.

China has repeatedly sailed into the waters since Japan nationalised the chain in September, a move that triggered anger and demonstrations in China.

The United States insists it is neutral on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands.

"We want to see China and Japan resolve this matter peacefully through dialogue," Clinton said Friday.

"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."

China has persistently criticised the US position and the sending of maritime surveillance ships to the potentially gas-rich area is seen by experts as a way to contest the notion that Japan holds effective control.

China ships in waters around disputed islands: Japan
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 19, 2013 - Three Chinese government ships Saturday entered Japanese territorial waters around disputed islands, Japan's coastguard said, hours after a veiled US warning to Beijing not to challenge Tokyo's control.

The surveillance vessels sailed in waters around the islands known as the Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyus in China for nearly five hours, the coastguard said.

The vessels had all left Japanese waters by 1:52 pm (0452 GMT) and were travelling away from the East China Sea islands, which are controlled by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing, a coastguard official said.

China has repeatedly sailed into the waters since Japan nationalised the chain in September, a move that triggered anger and demonstrations in China.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a joint news conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington on Friday, said the disputed area was under Japan's administration and hence protected under a US security treaty with Tokyo.

"We oppose any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration," Clinton said.

Clinton did not mention Beijing directly 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.

The United States insists it is neutral on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands.

China has repeatedly criticised the US position and the sending of maritime surveillance ships to the potentially gas-rich area is seen by experts as a way to contest the notion that Japan holds effective control.

Kishida took a measured tone on China, describing the relationship with Beijing as "one of the most important" for Japan.

"While Japan will not concede and will uphold our fundamental positions that the Senkaku islands are an inherent territory of Japan, we intend to respond calmly so as not to provoke China," Kishida said.

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Clinton stands by Japan on China island row
Washington (AFP) Jan 18, 2013
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a veiled warning Friday to China not to challenge Japan's control of disputed islands as Tokyo's new government vowed not to aggravate tensions. 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. Clinton announced that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe woul ... read more


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