Obama: U.S.-Japan Treaty Applies to Diaoyu Islands

World Today

Qin Gang

U.S. President Barack Obama says that the country’s mutual security treaty with Japan applies to the Diaoyu islands, which are at the center of a territorial dispute between Japan and China. CCTV’s Li Qiuyuan reports from Beijing. BEIJING, April 24 (Xinhuanet) — In a statement made ahead of his visit to Japan, Obama said the U.S. was opposed to any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands. Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper reports that this is the first time a sitting U.S. President has clearly stated the disputed islands are subject to the treaty. Obama also went on to commend Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to strengthen and expand Japan’s defense forces.

Obama: U.S.-Japan Treaty Applies to Diaoyu Islands

U.S. President Barack Obama says that the country’s mutual security treaty with Japan applies to the Diaoyu islands, which are at the center of a territorial dispute between Japan and China. CCTV's Li Qiuyuan reports from Beijing.

Q&A: Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun interviews U.S.President Barack Obama, Published: April 23.  The following is a transcript of a written interview with President Obama conducted by the Yomiuri Shimbun. The White House provided the newspaper with Obama’s answers on Monday, in advance of the president’s trip to Asia.

QUESTION: Asian allies of the United States very much appreciate the “Asia rebalance strategy” of the Obama administration. Could you please describe the core objectives of the policy in your own words? What do you think China is aiming at when they advocate a “new type of major power relations?” China claims sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. Would you officially declare that the Islands are covered by Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security treaty? What do you expect China and Japan to do to in order to lessen the tensions in the area?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: America is and always will be a Pacific nation, and at my direction the United States is once again playing a leading role in the region, in close partnership with allies like Japan. We seek security, where international law and norms are upheld and disputes are resolved peacefully. We seek prosperity, where trade and investment leads to broad-based economic growth and nations play by the same rules. We seek respect for fundamental freedoms and universal human rights, because we believe in the inherent dignity of every human being. Our strategy is a long-term commitment to this region and its people, and I’m proud of our progress so far. Our alliances, including with Japan, are stronger than ever and we’re modernizing our defense posture across the region. Our trade is growing and we’re working to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We’re deepening our ties with emerging powers like China, India and Indonesia. We’re more closely engaged with regional institutions like ASEAN and the East Asia Summit. We’re standing with citizens, including the people of Burma, as they work toward a democratic future.

With regard to China, the new model of relations we seek between our two countries is based on my belief that we can work together on issues of mutual interest, both regionally and globally, and that both our nations have to resist the danger of slipping into conflict, which is not inevitable. For example, both the United States and China have an interest in the global economic recovery, the denuclearization of North Korea and addressing climate change. In other words, we welcome the continuing rise of a China that is stable, prosperous and peaceful and plays a responsible role in global affairs. And our engagement with China does not and will not come at the expense of Japan or any other ally. At the same time, the United States is going to deal directly and candidly with China on issues where we have differences, such as human rights. I’ve also told President Xi that all our nations have an interest in dealing constructively with maritime issues, including in the East China Sea. Disputes need to be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, not intimidation and coercion. 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 U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands.”

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang responds to U.S.President Barack Obama’s comments.

Q: Today’s Yomiuri Shimbun published their interview with U.S.President Barack Obama. Obama said in the interview that the Diaoyu Islands are under Japan’s administration and fall within the scope of US-Japan security treaty, adding that the US supports Japan in playing a bigger role in the field of security in the Asia Pacific. What is China’s comment?

A: China’s position on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands is clear and consistent. The Diaoyu Islands are an integral part of China over which China has indisputable sovereignty. The so-called control of the islands by the Japanese side is illegal and invalid. Their provocative actions are undeniable and unjustifiable. Our determination and resolve to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests is unshakable. It should be noted that the US-Japan alliance, as a bilateral arrangement forged during the Cold War era, should never infringe upon China’s territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests. China firmly opposes the inclusion of the Diaoyu Islands into the US-Japan security treaty. The US should respect facts, act responsibly, stick to its commitment of taking no sides in relevant territorial disputes, think twice before saying or doing anything and truly play a constructive role in ensuring regional peace and stability. For historical reasons, countries in the region as well as the international community are mindful about Japan’s policies in military and security areas. Considering the recent incidents, by incidents I mean the provocative words and actions of the Japanese authority on issues of history, territorial sovereignty and others, Japan’s moves in the military and security areas are also closely watched by us. We hope that relevant parties can show their respect for facts, tell right from wrong, and make positive efforts in safeguarding regional peace, security and stability. As for the Japanese side, we hope they can follow the trend of the times, featuring win-win cooperation, and show us with their concrete actions that they are still on the path of peaceful development