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Tokyo's bid to get support for Diaoyu Islands will be in vain, ministry says

By ZHANG YUNBI | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-02-07 17:41

Tokyo seeking external support over the Diaoyu Islands will be in vain, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Tuesday.

Lu was responding to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reaffirming the US security commitment to come to Japan's aid if the islands come under attack.

Japan's Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday that during a telephone talk earlier in the day, Tillerson told Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida that the islands fall within the scope of Article 5 of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, a military pact signed in 1951.

A similar position was adopted by US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis when he visited Japan and talked with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday.

Lu told a Tuesday media conference in Beijing that the treaty, formulated in the Cold War era, should not damage China's territorial sovereignty as well as its rightful interests.

"We have urged the US to take a dutiful attitude and not to make erroneous remarks regarding the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands in order to prevent the relevant issue from being further complicated and thus introducing instability to the regional situation," Lu said.

Lu added that Japan's several recent attempts to seek external support and rely upon foreign backing will be in vain.

Article 5 of the Treaty states that either country "declares that it would act to meet the common danger" in case of "an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan".

The senior US officials reaffirmed the security guarantees as Abe prepares to start his trip to the US on Friday.

Washington has long stated that it takes no position over the ultimate sovereignty of the islands.

However, during Abe's trip to Washington in April, 2014, Barack Obama became the first US President to clearly assure Japan that the islands are covered by the article.

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