News / Asia

US, Japan Discuss Plan to Counter China over Disputed Islands

Chinese marine surveillance ship Haijian No. 51 (R) cruises next to a Japan Coast Guard patrol ship, Akaishi, in the East China Sea near the disputed isles known as Senkaku isles in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China, February 4, 2013.
Chinese marine surveillance ship Haijian No. 51 (R) cruises next to a Japan Coast Guard patrol ship, Akaishi, in the East China Sea near the disputed isles known as Senkaku isles in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China, February 4, 2013.
Analysts say the Pentagon's recent announcement that it is working with Japan to counter any Chinese military action to seize disputed islands in the East China Sea is a surprisingly blunt warning to Beijing.

A U.S. defense official on Wednesday said the chief of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces Joint Staff, General Shigeru Iwasaki, will meet later this week with the head of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, to discuss a plan to retake the islands Japan calls the Senkaku, should China invade. It confirmed an earlier report by Japan's Nikkei  newspaper.

Washington officials have repeatedly reaffirmed the islands fall under an American defense pact with Japan that obliges the United States to aid Tokyo in the event of an attack. But, they have been careful not to anger Beijing, insisting the U.S. does not take a position on the sovereignty of the islands, called the Diaoyu by China.

In recent months, China has conducted almost-daily maritime patrols around the Japanese-controlled islands, leading some analysts to believe it is trying to establish a new status quo in the strategic, energy-rich area. Both countries have also scrambled fighter jets to the area, raising fears of a military clash.

Mohan Malik, a professor of Asian security at the Hawaii-based Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, says the Pentagon's announcement is aimed at deterring China from further escalating the dispute.

"The Chinese are trying to challenge Japan's control of the islands through the deployment of civilian maritime surveillance vessels. They believe this will weaken Japan's control of the islands and reinforce China's sovereignty claims," said Malik.

Malik says the United States is also worried Japan may overreact to the Chinese patrols. He says the Pentagon's announcement is meant to reassure Japanese officials, who have long wanted explicit statements of support on the island issue.

"They want the U.S. to make unequivocal statements in support of Japan's claims, which has been done at the diplomatic level. But obviously, they want some sort of military demonstration of this commitment and this should be viewed as part of that," he said.

John Blaxland, a senior fellow at the Australian National University's Strategic and Defense Center, says is not surprised that the U.S. is discussing contingency plans with Japan.

"But what is surprising is the fact that it's being leaked to the media," he said. "The fact that a Pentagon official is saying that we're planning [to retake the islands] is, in itself, a significant turn of events. And, it speaks to what appears to be a deliberate attempt to convey a strong message to China about the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands."

On Thursday, China said it was "gravely concerned" at the reports of the U.S.-Japan talks. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said "no outside pressure" would shake Beijing's determination to defend its "national territorial sovereignty." Earlier, China's Defense Ministry said it firmly opposes "any action that could further complicate and magnify the situation."

For decades, China and Japan have quarreled about the tiny, uninhabited islands. They are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and a strategic shipping area. The conflict has escalated in recent years, after surveys suggested there were oil reserves in the area.

Victor Beattie contributed to this report.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wangchuk from: NYC
March 22, 2013 10:17 AM
Under int'l law the Senkaku Islands belong to Japan & have been since 1895. Whether China had previous control over these islands that no one cared about until recently is irrelevant since borders change all the time. No country's borders have remained unchanged throughout history. If the PRC wants to regain legal control over these islands there is a process: they can take their claim to the Int'l Court of Justice (ICJ). That is the mechanism for dealing w/ border disputes between UN members, not unilaterally asserting sovereignty over territory as the PRC has done. The PRC says it wants to be a respected member of the int'l community but they won't use int'l methods of arbitration like the ICJ to settle disputes. It seems the PRC only wants to have it their way & even else can go to hell. Chinese hegemonism rears its ugly head.


by: Alex wong from: China
March 22, 2013 5:00 AM
Diaoyu island belongs to China!!

In Response

by: remie from: canada
March 22, 2013 7:34 AM
@ alex,
yeah right, china thinks they own everthing ;P

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid