US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday voiced concern over China’s incursions into Japanese territorial waters, recommitting to the ally’s defense.
In a telephone call, Blinken and Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi “expressed concern over increased Chinese assertiveness around the Senkaku Islands [Diaoyutai Islands, 釣魚台] following China’s enactment of a new coast guard law,” US Department of State spokesman Ned Price said.
“Secretary Blinken reaffirmed that the Senkakus fall within the scope of Article V of the US-Japan Security Treaty,” he said, referring to the section that commits the two nations to defend each other if either is attacked.
Tokyo has voiced alarm over increased Chinese incursions after Beijing enacted legislation allowing its coast guard to use weapons against foreign ships seen as illegally entering its waters.
Japan administers the rocky islets in the East China Sea that are also claimed by Taiwan and China, which calls them the Diaoyu Islands (釣魚島).
Blinken’s call comes as US President Joe Biden promises to maintain the hard line of his predecessor, former US president Donald Trump, on a rising China, while also paying closer attention to allies.
Former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton first said that the Senkakus fell under Article V, although Trump went a step further by warning against attempts to contest Japan’s control over them.
The State Department said that Blinken and Motegi also discussed last week’s military coup in Myanmar, where Biden is rolling out punishment for the generals if they do not return power to elected leaders.
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