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US' islands stance opposed

By Cheng Guangjin in Beijing and Tan Yingzi in Washington (China Daily) Updated: 2012-08-27 08:02

China is firmly opposed to the US' stance that the Diaoyu Islands fall within the scope of the US-Japan security treaty, under which Washington would provide assistance if Tokyo's territories came under an armed attack, a senior Chinese military official told his US counterparts on Friday.

The Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islands are a part of China's inherent territory, said Cai Yingting, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. All of the recent illegal activities by the Japanese, including a bid to "purchase" the Diaoyu Islands and the decision by right-wing activists to land on the islands, are completely invalid, Cai said.

During meetings with senior US military and government officials, including US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, Cai said China is firmly opposed to the US stance that the Diaoyu Islands fall within the scope of the 1960 US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, under which Washington will provide assistance to Tokyo when the territories under Japan's administration are attacked.

Carter said the Pentagon's pivot to the Asia-Pacific region is not aimed at China nor an attempt to contain Beijing's growing power in the region.

The Chinese delegation arrived in the US on Aug 20 for a week-long official visit amid simmering tensions over territorial disputes with Japan, an important US ally in Asia.

Japan's Kyodo News said on Aug 22 that during a meeting in Washington between US and Japanese senior officials the US reaffirmed that the Diaoyu Islands issue falls under the scope of the US-Japan Security Treaty.

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Friday told reporters that Japan claims the Diaoyu Islands as part of its territory.

China on Friday expressed strong discontentment at Noda's remarks, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei saying that it "sabotages China's territorial sovereignty".

Hong stressed that the Diaoyu Islands and surrounding islets "have been the inherent territory of China since ancient times" because they "were first found, named and used by Chinese".

Japan claimed its sovereign requirement in 1895 during the China-Japan War and seized the islands through illegal means. "The saying that the Diaoyu Islands were an inherent territory of Japan is totally groundless," Hong said.

In June 1971, Japan and the US signed a pact to hand over Okinawa to Japan. The Diaoyu Islands were mapped in the handover area. "It is a private trading of the Chinese territory," Hong said.

Noda is wrong in trying to legalize Japan's occupation of the Diaoyu Islands by getting the US to recognize them as falling within the security treaty, a practice that has no international legal basis to support it, said Si Pingping, a professor at East China University of Political Science and Law.

Contact the writers at chengguangjin@chinadaily.com.cn and tanyingzi@chinadaily.com.cn

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