A joint statement to be released after a US-Japan summit Thursday will explicitly say islands at the centre of a dispute with China
24th Apr 2014
A joint statement to be released after a US-Japan summit Thursday will explicitly say islands at the centre of a dispute with China are covered by the security alliance that obliges Washington to come to Tokyo's aid if attacked, reports said.
The report will be welcome news to the Japanese government, which craves robust US backing in a row that some observers warn forms the most dangerous geopolitical faultline in the region.
Chinese and Japanese ships have jostled in waters around the islands for months, with each side insisting they are the rightful owners.
President Barack Obama arrived in Tokyo late Wednesday for a three-day state visit and went into an informal dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Emerging from the dinner with Obama, Abe told reporters he wanted the upcoming summit talk to "send a message to the world that the Japan-US alliance is unswervingly solid".
Media reports said a post-summit joint statement would confirm Washington accepts it has a duty under the defence agreement to take Japan's part if the islands -- called Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyus in China -- are attacked.
The statement will also likely say the two countries are opposed to attempts to change the status quo by force, apparently in consideration of Russia's integration of Crimea and China's territorial disputes with other countries, Jiji Press said.
Obama, even before touching down in Tokyo, had made clear the US would support Tokyo if China took any hostile action over the East China Sea islands.
In an interview with Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, he said the US would oppose any "unilateral attempts to undermine Japan's administration" of the islands.
"The policy of the United States is clear -- the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security," he said in the article.