Saturday, February 4, 2017

Mattis: U.S. Will Defend Japanese Islands And Deploy Missile Defense In South Korea

Chinese officials reacted with disgust when Defense Secretary James Mattis announced Saturday the United States would defend Japan-controlled islands claimed by China and deploy missile defense in South Korea.
Mattis, according to The New York Times, told Japanese officials Saturday morning that the U.S. defense responsibilities of Japan expanded to the debated rocky station posts known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.
Mattis, who made his remarks at a Tokyo news conference, said that China’s territorial declaration to nearly all of its waters “has shredded the trust of nations in the region.” Sec. Mattis discussed Article 5 of the United States-Japan treaty, which obligates the the U.S. defend Japan or its territories that it controls against an attack.
China condemned the statement made by Mattis. The chief spokesman of China’s Foreign Ministry, Lu Kang, said in a statement on its website, “We urge the U.S. side to take a responsible attitude, stop making wrong remarks on the issue involving the Diaoyu islands’ sovereignty, and avoid making the issue more complicated and bringing instability to the regional situation.”
Read more:
China Assails U.S. Pledge to Defend Disputed Islands Controlled by Japan
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reviewed an honor guard before a meeting at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo on Saturday. Franck Robichon/European Pressphoto Agency
Last year, China sent a warship to within 24 miles of the islands. President Xi Jinping of China declared much of the East China Sea to be a Chinese air defense zone in 2013, and since then China has regularly sent fighter jets to patrol the area.
At a news conference in Tokyo, Mr. Mattis cited Article 5 of the United States-Japan treaty, which commits the United States to defend Japan or territories that it administers against attack.
“I made clear that our longstanding policy on the Senkaku Islands stands — the U.S. will continue to recognize Japanese administration of the islands,” Mr. Mattis said. “And as such, Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan security treaty applies.”
Before going to Japan, Mr. Mattis went to South Korea to offer assurances to that ally about defense commitments, and China’s reaction was similar.
No Extra Forces Needed in Gulf Now, Defense Chief Says
TOKYO — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis described Iran as the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism on Saturday, but he emphasized that there was no pressing need for the United States to beef up its military presence in the Persian Gulf region.
“I do not see any need to increase the number of forces we have in the Middle East at this time,” Mr. Mattis said, speaking in Tokyo at a news conference as he wound up his visits to Japan and South Korea, his first foreign trip as defense secretary.


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