News / Asia

US Opposes Any Unilateral Action on Japan/China Island Dispute

The United States is urging new leaders in China and Japan to find a peaceful way to settle their long-standing territorial dispute over islands in the East China Sea. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Friday with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss the standoff.  

The election of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has added to growing tensions over the contested islands with his plans to increase overall Japanese defense spending.

Kishida said the Abe administration considers China one of its most important bilateral relationships and intends to promote a broad, mutually-beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests.

"While Japan will not concede and will uphold our fundamental position that the Senkaku Islands are an inherent territory of Japan, we intend to respond calmly so as not to provoke China," he said through an interpreter following talks with Secretary Clinton.

The islands called the Senkakus in Japan are known as the Diaoyus in China.

The long-standing dispute grew more serious in 2010 when Chinese fishermen rammed two Japanese coast guard vessels. Beijing and Tokyo now conduct rival aerial surveillance over the disputed waters, adding to U.S. concerns of more serious confrontation.

Clinton said Washington is working to preserve the status quo until there is a more constructive dialogue.

"Although the United States does not take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands, we acknowledge they are under the administration of Japan," said Clinton. "And we oppose any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration. And we urge all parties to take steps to prevent incidents and manage disagreements through peaceful means."

She said the Obama administration is hopeful that Tokyo and Beijing can lower tensions and prevent an escalation of the standoff that would permit them to discuss a range of other important issues.

"We applaud the early steps taken by Prime Minister Abe's government to reach out and begin discussions. We want to see the new leaders - both in Japan and China - get off to a good start with each other in the interest of the security of the entire region," said Clinton.

In addition to the island dispute with Japan, China also has territorial standoffs with Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei over the South China Sea.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Nigeshabi from: Canada
January 24, 2013 2:55 AM
Andy, check Internet yourself for Cairo Declaration (1943) (US, UK, China) and Potsdam Declaration (1945) (US, UK, China, Russian). It is clear that Diaoyu islands is not a part of Japan and belongs to Taiwan and China.

BTW, ask Japanese why they only has administration of Diaoyu islands instead of sovereignty.

by: Hello from: America
January 21, 2013 7:41 AM

Are you getting paid per article from China or are you retired?
Because you sure have alot of pro China respond. I definitely know you are Chinese because your answer shows that China is perfect and never do any wrong. IN other words PERFECT

In Response

by: Redcliff from: Aus
January 21, 2013 5:57 PM
@ Hello from America

Are you getting paid per comment and reply by the Japanese Propaganda Official or are you currently unemployed in USA?
Because you sure confirm your dislike for readers posting positive comments about China by your ignorant reply.

by: Wu from: USA
January 20, 2013 5:24 PM
China is a trouble maker with its neighbors. China used forced to occupy far, far away islands belongs to Asian countries. Why does the West keep buying chinese products while chinese people not happy with Bejing and ASEAN not happy with Bejing. Be respectful Bejing! Good people operate in a set of rules. I have not seen Chinese do any good to its neighbors ... ever ...

by: Suharto from: Indonesia
January 20, 2013 7:03 AM
It's funny, usa & japan are afraid of china. better make friend with china asap lol. cambodia seems to be the most intelligent in asean
In Response

by: Redcliff from: Aus
January 20, 2013 7:14 PM
@ Suharto from Indonesia

I don' t think you should make such inflammatory statement. In my opinion China is seeking a peaceful resolution to the current dispute and comments like yours served no purpose except to add fuel to fire which I believe that's your agenda.
In Response

by: Heath from: United States
January 20, 2013 12:55 PM
As a US Army Veteran and American citizen, Let's set the record straight here. We are afraid of NOONE, We do however hold dear to heart our strong beliefs in God and individual Freedom for all man. You need to understand one simple fact, LEADERS start wars, citizens DON"T. And "We the People" here in America are afraid of NOONE. It would be wide to leave us out of it and leave us alone. That is what and all we wish. We have a saying here, "Don't tread on Me". It is wise to follow that.
In Response

by: Jack from: Asia
January 20, 2013 10:52 AM
US and Japan afraid of China who has never fought a large war outside its borders. Get real! Get real! Cambodia is the only ASEAN member who is a Chinese lapdog, who cannot even feed its own people, and whos leaders get paid from the CCP. At least other ASEAN nations have the guts to oppose China. Cambodia will eventually get voted out of ASEAN.

by: Aaron from: Texas
January 20, 2013 2:33 AM
Japanese first stole these islands from china after an invasive war but didnt dare claim the sovereignties. It is hard for a theft to claim something. Then it took unilateral action to nationalize these islands--to publicly claim these islands.

by: Nigeshabi from: Canada
January 20, 2013 1:38 AM
Tinker (Canada): Japanese fascist is the real evil in the world instead of China if you still remember the aggression and greed of Japanese in WWII, and how many countries and peoples were damaged and killed by Japanese in WWII.

China is not a member of UN until 1971 because of cold war, Taiwan quit from UN after 1971 due to civil war and politics of China. China and Taiwan claimed Diaoyu islands as inherent territory from Ming dynasty, the reason China/Taiwan re-claimed Diaoyu island as its sovereignty in 1971 is mainly because US transferred administration (NOT sovereignty) of Ryukyu Islands (or Okinawa) to Japan in 1971 without participation of China and Taiwan. Japan thought of Diaoyu islands as a part of Ryukyu Islands, but China and Taiwan regarded Diaoyu islands as a part of China. Many Japanese and some media misled people that China and Taiwan only claimed Diaoyu islands after UN announced potential gas reserve around Diaoyu islands, which is only trying to defame China and Taiwan. The key thing is China and Taiwan always claimed Diaoyu islands as sovereignty of China from Ming dynasty until now. Japan map before 1971 also showed Diaoyu islands is part of China, even from the Japanese map used in WWII in China, also showed Diaoyu islands is NOT a part of Japan (it means Diaoyu islands is a part of China).

Japan is very aggressive (to get more islands and lands) even they failed in WWII. We cannot imagine what the world looks like if Japanese had won WWII in 1945. Pearl harbor, Taiwan, Korean, Mongolia, Manchuria, Hawaii, The Territory of Guahan, The Ryukyu Islands, Mainland China, Vietnam, Indonesian, Thailand, Cambodia, India, and other Southeastern Asian countries will be all territories of Japan. How terrible it is!
In Response

by: Andy from: USA
January 20, 2013 5:53 PM
WWII was history. Please stop it here. I am not a Japanese. I don't know what Japanese people you are talking about. But I have seen Japanese exchange students, they are very honest. I have worked in a Japanese manufactory, they are honest, hardworking people.
Proof what you said the island belong to China. A real evidence. Don't just say it belong to china, then it belong to china.
I read articles wrote Chinese people land in America before Columbus.

by: Redcliff from: Aus
January 20, 2013 12:22 AM
@ tinker from Canada

" Chinese were never interested in the Islands which has been claimed and owned by the Japanese...."

Who gives you the permission to speak for me and many oversea born Chinese(OBC). Unless we have elected you as the spoke person please refrain from making such outrages comments on behalf of us.

by: Ny from: Canada
January 19, 2013 10:38 PM
Re the dispute between China and Japan, China had not escalating the dispute; it was only after the Japanese government had 'purchased' the island from a Japanese squatter then China became really mad.

by: banana1 from: freedom
January 19, 2013 3:40 PM
Does anyone really like China's policy except for their censored citizens and for anything other than financial benefit? China talks good will, but is all self interest.
In Response

by: Richmond from: SFS
January 19, 2013 11:03 PM
You must be living in fairy land. You just named the first motivation of every country on Earth.

by: Nigeshabi from: Canada
January 19, 2013 2:04 PM
The long-standing dispute grew more serious,not because of Chinese fishermen. Why this small china fishing ship rammed into the TWO Japanese armed cost guard vessels? The more reasonable explanation is because two Japanese armed coast guard vessels harassed and bullied the small China fishing ship. It is Japanese who took unilateral action to nationalize Diaoyu islands/Senkaku, which make these islands get more and more serious, and more and more intense. US should blame Japan and make Japan take some measures to cancel the unilateral nationalization of the Diaoyu island/Senkaku and appease the intense relationship between Bejing and Toyko. If US allowed this Unilateral action from Japan, why not allow China to take Unilateral action? US is supposed to be reasonable and fair in this issues since US claimed not to take a position on this dispute.
In Response

by: tinker from: canada
January 19, 2013 7:23 PM
Chinese were never interested in the islands which has been claimed and owned by the Japanese until the finding of the oils in the area. With the rapid growth of its economic power and its large stomach for natural resources which China is set to grab more and more all over the world, the government is geared to throw its military might to take this tiny island, partly to show to the world that China is now a world military power and partly to divert the discontent and aversion among the population generated by the rampant corruption. China has become and will strengthen its position as a menace as long as the west selects to close its eyes. Wake up, US policy makers, your appeasement policy and your exporting technologies to that new evil empire has created a monster! We have to stand strong and stand firm with our allies to face the challenges from the communist red China!
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs