Kerry Spells Out Policy on Senkaku Islands

Secretary of State John Kerry

The United States recognizes the Senkaku Islands are under Japan's administration but doesn't take a stand on their ultimate sovereignty, its top diplomat said.

Secretary of State John Kerry, concluding his Asia visit in Japan, commented on the East China Sea islands, which have become a source of serious territorial dispute between Japan and China. Tensions over their rival claims have led to violent protests in China and adversely affected their bilateral trade. The United States remains concerned that the issue should not get out of control.

Appearing with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at a news conference, Kerry said in his talks he reiterated U.S. principles governing the policy on the Senkaku.

"The United States, as everybody knows, does not take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands. But we do recognize that they are under the administration of Japan," Kerry said. "And we obviously want all the parties to deal with territorial issues through peaceful means."

The U.S. visitor said any action that raises tensions or leads to miscalculations would affect peace, stability and prosperity of an entire region.

"And so we oppose any unilateral or coercive action that would somehow aim at changing the status quo," Kerry said.

Kishida said while Japan-China relations are very important, he explained to Kerry that Japan cannot concede on issues of her sovereignty.

"I stated Japan is calling on China to reaffirm our mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interest, and I explained Japan's door is always open to dialogue," he said.

Answering a question, Kishida said there is "stable relationship" between the two major economies in the region and that both countries need to promote from a broad perspective the mutually beneficially relationship based on common strategic interests.

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