September 21, 2012
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said islands at the heart of a dispute between Japan and China fall under an American defense pact with Japan, while urging the sides to resolve the standoff via diplomacy.
“We want to focus more on issues associated with the maintenance of peace and stability and less on the particular details of this very complex and challenging matter,” Campbell told a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s East Asian and Pacific Affairs subcommittee yesterday. He said the islands fall under a treaty which obligates the U.S. to defend Japan if it’s attacked.
The U.S. doesn’t take a position on the sovereignty of the islands, known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese, Campbell said. His comments echoed those of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said in 2010 that the islands fall under “mutual treaty obligations” with the Japan government.