US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s statement that the US remains committed to supporting Japan’s claim to the disputed Diaoyu islands is putting regional stability in East Asia at risk, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang Friday.
© AP Photo/ Defense Ministry through the Japanese Foreign Ministry Homepage
According to Lu, the United States should take a “responsible attitude” toward the disputed islands in the East China Sea, which are called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.
“We urge the US side to take a responsible attitude, stop making wrong remarks on the issue involving the Diaoyu islands’ sovereignty, and avoid making the issue more complicated and bringing instability to the regional situation,” Lu said Friday.
His statement comes in the wake of remarks by US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis that the United States will defend the disputed islands on Japan’s behalf should they ever be attacked.
“I made clear our longstanding policy on the Senkaku Islands,” Mattis said during his inaugural trip to Tokyo. “The US will continue to recognize Japanese administration of the islands.”
Responding to Mattis’s statement, Lu called the US-Japan relationship “a product of the Cold War, which should not impair China’s territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights.”
After World War II, the islands remained under US control until they were given to Japan in 1972. China cites historical records to prove its rights to control this territory.
US President Donald Trump has taken a harsh stance against China, accusing it of currency manipulation and not taking appropriate measures to reign in its rogue neighbor, North Korea. After the presidential election, Trump violated a decades-old tradition by taking a phone call from the president of Taiwan, an independent nation that China claims as a part of its territory.