U.S. takes Japan’s side in China radar issue

Japan’s allegation that China “lit up” its weapons-guiding radar twice last month against a Japanese vessel and a helicopter has the U.S. agreeing with Japan that the incidents actually happened.

China has denied the Japanese claims that their naval vessels engaged radar on a Japanese destroyer on the 31st, and earlier in January against a helicopter.  It accuses Japan of fabricating the reports to cause tensions between the two countries to escalate.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland has a different take.  She says Japan briefed the U.S. on the incidents, and “we have satisfied ourselves that it does appear to have happened.”

The incidents are all taking place in the area around the disputed set of five uninhabited islands, the Senkakus in southwestern Okinawa Prefecture.  China, which calls the islands Diaoyu, says the islands are theirs, while Japan claims sovereignty.  The U.S. says it has no position in the sovereignty dispute, but does oppose “unilateral actions” that undermine Japan’s administration of the islands.