US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (R) and Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada attend a guard of honor in Tokyo, Japan, on Feb. 4.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (R) and Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada attend a guard of honor in Tokyo, Japan, on Feb. 4.

China Slams Mattis’ Islands Remarks

China Slams Mattis’ Islands Remarks

The US is putting regional stability in East Asia at risk, a Chinese spokesman said on Saturday following remarks by US President Donald Trump’s defense secretary that a US commitment to defend Japanese territory applies to an island group that China claims.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang on Saturday called on the US to avoid discussion of the issue and reasserted China’s claim of sovereignty over the tiny uninhabited islands, known in Japanese as the Senkaku and Chinese as Diaoyu.
The 1960 US-Japan treaty is “a product of the Cold War, which should not impair China’s territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights”, Lu was quoted as saying in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.
“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.
On his first trip to Asia as secretary of defense, Mattis explicitly stated in Tokyo that the Trump administration will stick to the previous US stance that the US-Japan security treaty applies to defending Japan’s continued administration of the Senkaku islands.
Missile Defense System
China also registered its displeasure with Mattis’ remarks on Friday in South Korea that Trump’s administration is committed to carrying through on a deal the Obama administration reached with the Seoul government last year to deploy a high-end US missile defense system to South Korea this year.
Beijing objects to the system because its powerful radar would allow it to peer deep into northeastern China, possibly allowing it to observe Chinese military movements.
The deployment “will jeopardize security and the strategic interests of regional countries, including China, and undermine the strategic balance in the region”, Lu said.

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