America promises to defend Japan
If China’s war of words with Japan over sovereignty of lands including the disputed Senkaku Islands goes beyond talk, the U.S. has assured Japan the United States has its back.
John Kerry, America’s Secretary of State, made the promise that the United States will defend Japan against any attacks, including attacks over islands China claims as its own, if tensions escalate. Kerry, who’s soon to visit China, has told Japan he’ll deliver that message directly to Beijing. Kerry was meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, as he reconfirmed the treaty pact inked in 1960 to promised U.S. protection for Japan in the event of hostilities.
“That includes with respect to the East China Sea,” says Kerry, who continued to express concern over China’s decision in November to initiate a massive Air Defense Identification Zone over virtually all of the East China Sea. Beijing’s move requires countries to notify China whenever their aircraft cross into the area, including the Senkaku Islands in southwest Okinawa Prefecture. Kerry says the U.S. is not abiding by China’s demands. “The United States neither recognizes nor accepts China’s declared East China Sea ADIZ and the United States has no intention of changing how we conduct operations in the region,” says Kerry.
Kishida, in Washington to try patching up some differences between the two allies, reemphasized that his country values its relationship not only with the U.S., but even with South Korea, in spite of “difficult issues”. Kishida says the tensions spawned by North Korea make it imperative that the nations work together.“Going forward, we will make tenacious efforts in order to build a cooperative relationship with the Republic of Korea from a broad perspective.”
Kerry covered a wide range of issues in his meeting with Kishida, complimenting Japan on its decision to ratify the Hague Convention measure providing for return of children abducted by a parent and transported across international boundaries. He is preparing to bring the U.S. point of view to the region in only a few days, trying to sway critics who think the United States is virtually abandoning the region in favor of more focus on the Middle East.
Kerry said he was committed to the goal set in President Barack Obama’s first term of putting a greater U.S. focus on Asia, and said the strategy was impossible without “ironclad guarantees” between the United States and Japan.