2ND LD: Clinton tells Maehara Senkaku subject to Japan-U.S. security pact
Thursday, September 23, 2021 12:59 PM

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NEW YORK, Sep. 23, 2010 (Kyodo News International) --

The Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea are covered by the Japan-U.S. security pact that allows for Washington to retaliate against a military strike on Japanese territory, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara on Thursday amid rising tension between Japan and China over the islands, Maehara said.

The Japanese minister told Clinton that he was grateful and encouraged to hear the disputed isles administered by Japan, but claimed by both China and Taiwan, are subject to Article 5 of the bilateral security treaty, a Japanese official said.

The article authorizes the U.S. to protect Japan in the event of an armed attack ''in the territories under the administration of Japan.'' The islands are known in China as Diaoyu and in Taiwan as Tiaoyutai.

Bilateral ties between Japan and China have rapidly chilled following the Sept. 7 collisions between a Chinese trawler and two Japanese Coast Guard patrol boats near the disputed islands.

The Chinese fishing boat captain was arrested on suspicion of obstructing the official duties of the coast guard personnel by deliberately causing his vessel to collide with one of the boats.

The arrest sparked protests from China, which has repeatedly called for the captain's immediate release, and led to cancellations of travel, concerts and other cultural and governmental exchanges between the two countries.

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said after the talks that the secretary's response to the minister's explanation on the issue was ''simply to encourage dialogue and hope that the issue can be resolved soon since the relations between Japan and China are vitally important to the regional stability.''

Clinton and Maehara met in New York on the sidelines of U.N. General Assembly meetings. Their meeting was held prior to summit talks between Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and U.S. President Barack Obama scheduled for later in the day.

Crowley said Washington does ''not take a position on the sovereignty of the Senkakus'' but expects ''the two mature countries are fully capable of resolving'' the row.

''Our sense is neither side wants to see the situation escalate to the point that it has a long-term regional impact. We're hopeful that this issue can be resolved soon,'' he said.

The two also discussed a range of other issues such as the relocation of a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa, deepening of the bilateral security treaty, how to deal with North Korea and Iran in relation to their nuclear programs, support for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and bilateral trade matters.

Maehara said he told Clinton the Japanese government will implement an accord reached in May to transfer the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station within Okinawa and try to gain the understanding of local Okinawa residents of that policy.

The two also agreed to move forward talks on deepening the security treaty, which marks its 50th anniversary this year, with a view to responding to regional and global challenges, the minister told reporters.

Clinton and Maehara reaffirmed that they will work closely to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. The Japanese minister told Clinton that Tokyo will closely follow next Tuesday's convention of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea and is eager to hold strategic dialogue on North Korea with the United States, according to the Japanese official.

The convention of party delegates is expected to elect a new leadership, a move that may be linked to the succession of power from leader Kim Jong Il to his third son and heir apparent Kim Jong Un, believed to be in his late 20s.

On economic issues, the two took up Japan's restrictions on U.S. beef imports over mad cow disease. Maehara said he told Clinton that Tokyo is considering the possibility of easing its ban on imports of U.S. beef from cattle aged over 20 months.

Maehara, who served as transport minister before being appointed to foreign ministerial post last Friday, also said he conveyed to Clinton his eagerness to export Japan's high-speed railway system to the United States to further boost bilateral economic ties.

The minister said he asked Clinton to take a test ride on Japan's Shinkansen bullet train system when she visits Japan in November to attend a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.



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