CHINA TOPIX

Updated 6:02 PM EDT, Wed, Apr 01, 2020

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Beijing Cautions Washington Over Position on Diaoyu Islands Following U.S. Commander's Remark

East China Sea, Japan, China, US

(Photo : Photo by Andy Wong - Pool /Getty Images) Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., U.S. Navy Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, left, and Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission. China has cautioned Washington over Harris' comments regarding the East China Sea.

China has advised the United States to be cautious in its words and actions with regards to the disputed Diaoyu Islands. The Ministry of National Defense served hte stern warning to Washington on Friday after learning about the recent comments of a top United States Navy official.

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The Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command Harry Harris made a remark about the contested territory in the East China Sea saying "We will clearly defend them if they are attacked by China", Japan's Kyodo News Agency quoted him saying. This remark was made during an event in Washington.

"China has taken notice of the relevant report," the national defense ministry said, adding that China's determination to safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity in Diaoyu Islands will not falter.

The ministry expressed hope that the U.S. will consider China-U.S. relations and will continue to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Ruan Zongze, the vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, recalls President Barack Obama's statement over two years ago that the U.S. will uphold treaty obligations in defending the islands. Ruan believes that the statement was aimed at encouraging Japan to make bold military actions in the Diaoyu Islands.

He added that Tokyo needs to show some defense commitment in exchange for Washington's help in safeguarding the East China Sea. With the commander's statement, Ruan believes that the .S.is calling on Japan's self-defense forces to increase its role and advance its equipment.

Aside from Harris' remarks on the East China Sea, he also earned Beijing's ire for speaking on the South China Sea situation during an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday.

Harris's questioned China's territorial claims in the area. He added that the U.S. will continue to challenge China's position on the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, China's National Security Ministry's spokesman Yang Yujun has expressed surprised over the remarks by the commander. Management of peace and stability in the South China Sea should be handled by China and the ASEAN countries, he said.

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