The Foreign Ministry has hit back at US President Barack Obama over his support for Japanese defense of contested islands in the East China Sea, saying Japanese occupation of the islands is illegal and invalid, Apple Daily reported Thursday.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Wednesday that the Diaoyu Islands, called the Senkakus in Japan, are without doubt Chinese territory and China strongly opposes their coverage by the US-Japan security pact.
Beijing and Taipei were quick to express strong objections to Obama’s statement ahead of a state visit to Japan that the US would help Japan defend the islands. Obama also voiced US government support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution.
Qin called on the US to keep its promise to not take sides in territorial disputes, adding that any alliance between the US and Japan cannot jeopardize China’s territorial sovereignty.
In an interview with Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun, Obama said he told President Xi Jinping that the US thinks disputes should be resolved through dialogue and peaceful solutions rather than threats and pressure, and that Sino-US relations will not be built at the cost of the interests of Japan or other allies.
Obama landed in Tokyo Wednesday, just in time for dinner with Abe at the Sukiyabashi Jirosushi restaurant, which the Michelin Guide awarded three stars. Some analysts said Abe was trying to forge personal ties with Obama as well as take the chance to get US concessions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to Apple Daily.
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