US: Japan, China Must Resolve Dispute Peacefully

Posted September 19th, 2012 at 3:10 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States says it expects China and Japan to resolve their territorial dispute through “peaceful means.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday the U.S. believes good relations between Japan and China benefit all countries in the region. He also said the United States does not take a position on the sovereignty of the islands.

“We believe that good relations between China and Japan benefit everyone in the region, and U.S. policy on the Senkaku Islands, which I think is the issue at the moment, is long-standing and has not changed. The United States does not take a position on the question of the ultimate sovereignty of the islands, and we expect the claimants to resolve the issue through peaceful means among themselves.”

Tensions have been running high between China and Japan since Japan announced last week it plans to buy disputed islands in the East China Sea. The islands, controlled by Japan and claimed by China, are known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

On Tuesday, fears of a maritime conflict surfaced when Chinese state media reported a flotilla of 1,000 Chinese fishing boats was headed to the islands.

Japan's Coast Guard said Tuesday at least two Chinese government vessels entered Japanese territorial waters near the islands.

Also, anti-Japan protests took place for several days in China, with some becoming violent, after Japan said it will buy some of the uninhabited islands from a private Japanese landowner.

On Tuesday, at least 1,000 protesters marched outside Japan's embassy in Beijing, holding signs, chanting nationalistic slogans and calling for China to defend its claim to the islands. The demonstrations died down on Wednesday.

Tuesday's protests coincided with the 81st anniversary of the so-called Manchurian Incident, a pretext Japan used to invade China in 1931.

Many Japanese companies, including Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Panasonic, have reduced operations in China because of sporadic violence.