US sends wrong signal over islands issue

Updated: 2013-01-21 09:53


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BEIJING - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday claimed that the Diaoyu Islands were under the administrative authority of Japan, and therefore the US-Japan Security Treaty applies to it.

Clinton also said the United States opposed "any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration." Her words showed explicit US endorsement of Japan over the Diaoyu Islands issue, sending a mixed and wrong signal and adding fuel to the matter.

It was exceedingly wrong for Clinton, a senior US governmental official in charge of American foreign affairs, to make such comments when meeting in Washington with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

US sends wrong signal over islands issue

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida hold a news conference after their meetings at the State Department in Washington, Jan 18, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

Firstly, Clinton's comments were ignorant of essential historical facts and international law, and indiscriminate of rights and wrongs. Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets have been part of China's inherent territories since ancient times.

China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands whether on the aspects of history, geography and legal principle.

However, the US arbitrarily placed the Diaoyu Islands under its administration in the 1950s and transferred the so-called "administrative authority" to Japan in the 1970s.

The two countries' backroom deals over the islands have seriously violated China's territorial sovereignty and sowed seeds for future disputes over the territory.

The US has an unshirkable historical responsibility on the Diaoyu Islands issue. However, instead of retrospecting history, the country has made mistakes repeatedly.

Secondly, Clinton's words indicated the chaotic US foreign policies. It would embolden right-wing forces in Japan and intensify tensions between China and Japan.

Not long before, Washington had still seemed to remain cautious when dealing with the issue of the Diaoyu Islands. The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that Kurt Campbell, the top US diplomat for East Asia, recently issued a subtle but clear message to Japan, suggesting that Tokyo tone down its rhetoric and actions in its dispute with Beijing.

In addition, The Journal said Campbell "maintained a neutral tone in describing the situation."

However, Clinton's recent remarks have indicated clearly that the US stance on the issue was contradictory.

Clinton's comments would be seen as backing Japan's rightwingers, making it more complicated to solve the issue.

Thirdly, Clinton's remarks actually jeopardized the national interests of the US Since America unveiled its "pivot to Asia" strategy, what it would do reflects its Asian-Pacific strategy.

Will it help promote regional security and prosperity and thus be able to share the results of economic development of the region? Or will it add fuel to the flames and become a troublemaker?

The irresponsible US remarks concerning the Diaoyu Islands will worsen, rather than relieve the tension over the issue.

With intensified tension and deteriorated security within the region, no less the prospect of reviving militarism in Japan, the security and economic recovery of the US would be largely affected. It is unwise for the politicians to act shortsightedly.

Instead of pursuing immediate interests, Washington should take its general relations with China into consideration and adopt a responsible attitude in regard to the issue of the Diaoyu Islands.