The Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute Nov 27, 2013 22:44:22 GMT
Post by ThirdTerm on Nov 27, 2013 22:44:22 GMT
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's PC3 surveillance plane flies around the disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku isles in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in this October 13, 2011
The United States pledged support for ally Japan on Wednesday in a growing dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea and senior U.S. administration officials accused Beijing of behavior that had unsettled its neighbors.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel assured his Japanese counterpart in a phone call that the two nations' defense pact covered the small islands where China established a new airspace defense zone last week and commended Tokyo "for exercising appropriate restraint," a Pentagon spokesman said. China's declaration raised the stakes in a territorial standoff between Beijing and Tokyo over the area, which includes the tiny uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden walks on top of the lock gates during a visit to the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal in Panama City November 19, 2013.
In a previously announced trip, Vice President Joe Biden will visit China, Japan and South Korea next week. He will seek to ease tensions heightened by China's declaration, senior administration officials said. Washington does not take a position on the sovereignty of the islands but recognizes that Tokyo has administrative control over them and the United States is therefore bound to defend Japan in the event of an armed conflict. Some experts say the Chinese move was aimed at eroding Tokyo's claim to administrative control over the area.
China's declaration of a defense zone affects not only Japan but aircraft from other countries throughout the world that routinely fly over the area. The U.S. government has advised U.S. airlines to take necessary steps to operate safely over the East China Sea. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States was trying to determine whether China's new rules apply to commercial airlines in addition to military aircraft.