US, Japan review worst-case plans for island dispute

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In this Sept. 2, 2012 file photo, the survey ship Koyo Maru, left, chartered by Tokyo Metropolitan Government officials, sails around Minamikojima, foreground, Kitakojima, middle right, and Uotsuri, background, the tiny islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. AP FILE PHOTO

WASHINGTON – US and Japanese officers are discussing worst-case contingency plans for retaking disputed islands in the East China Sea if China moves to seize them, US officials said Wednesday.

Japan’s Nikkei newspaper first reported the talks, which prompted a strong reaction from China.

“We have contingency plans and we discuss them with allies,” a US official told AFP speaking on condition of anonymity, saying it was “natural” that the two governments would confer on emergency scenarios given recent tensions.

A Pentagon official, who also asked not to be quoted by name, confirmed the discussions, saying “we’re a planning organization.”

But both sources said the US government did not want to fuel tensions, and that the contingency planning would be only one of many topics on the agenda when top US and Japanese officers meet in Hawaii later this week.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of US Pacific Command, is scheduled to host General Shigeru Iwasaki, chief of the Japanese Self Defense Forces Joint Staff, for Thursday’s talks.

Officially, the Pentagon would neither confirm nor deny whether the contingency plans were under discussion.

“As a matter of policy, we do not discuss our military planning efforts,” said Lieutenant Colonel Catherine Wilkinson.

“The US policy on the Senkaku Islands is long-standing. We encourage the claimants to resolve the issue through peaceful means,” she said, using the Japanese name for the islands.

The United States has made clear that its alliance with Tokyo applies to the islands, raising the possibility of US military action in support of Japan if China moves to seize them.

Beijing and Tokyo both claim the islands, which the Chinese call the Diaoyu.

The dispute has escalated in recent months, with Beijing repeatedly sending ships to waters around the islands to back up its claims. Tokyo has alleged that a Chinese frigate locked its radar on a Japanese destroyer in January.

In a faxed response to a query, China’s defense ministry said it had seen the Nikkei report and reiterated Beijing’s stance that the islands belong to China.

“The determination and will of Chinese military forces to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are steadfast,” the ministry said.

“We firmly oppose any action that could further complicate and magnify the situation.”

China’s newly installed President Xi Jinping is vowing to fight for a “great renaissance of the Chinese nation.” Xi has close ties to China’s expanding military, and called for the armed forces to strengthen their ability to “win battles.”

Japan too has expressed a new strain of nationalistic rhetoric under its hawkish prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who has urged new graduates of the National Defense Academy to guard the country against “provocations.”

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party pledged at its annual convention on Sunday to accelerate efforts to reform Japan’s pacifist post-war constitution and create a fully fledged military.

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  • Peter Lim

    What’s wrong w/USA, they forgot what happened at Pearl Harbor??? The Chinese never did Forget what they did to China!!! I think it’s payback time!!! So Obama, which side are you on??? Dummy!!!

    • riza888

      US dropped a bomb onto Japan, remember? So they’re even.

      • Loggnat

        Two bombs, one in Hiroshima (Little Boy) and another one in Nagasaki (Fat Man).

      • Trulahn

        It was that or continue to fire bomb Tokyo till nothing exists. Millions more civilians would have died. Tens, if not hundreds of thousands of more soldiers on both sides would have fought to their deaths during the land invasion of mainland Japan. The two atomic bombs were actually the lesser of the two evils.

    • Crazy_horse101010

      was you at pearl harbor. you want america to blow up their own bases. italy and germany were our enemies should we attack them also. china imposed a sneak attack on america during the korean war and that was later. .

    • DarkM

      Don’t tell us that your knowledge of history is up to WW2 only.

      And what do you mean by “The Chinese never forget what they did to China?”

    • siJuanDalandan

      Actually, what the U.S. is doing is part of the outcome of WW2. With the defeat of Japan, the U.S. imposed certain conditions, contained in the U.S.-approved Japanese constitution, such as the renunciation of war as a sovereign right of Japan and the threat or use of force as a mean of settling international dispute. To achieve this, U.S. required that Japan must not maintain land, sea, and air forces.

      With a constitution that would not permit Japan to maintain a military force, the U.S. has assumed the responsibility of protecting Japan. Kaya nga may U.S. military bases sa Japan.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alfa.saclao Alfa Saclao

        in fairness, the senkaku/diayo… is owned by taiwan, so after ww2, when taiwan was given independence, japan should have returned the islands too. the japanese did not returned them and US seems to have agreed to it. sthe claim of taiwan is valid.

      • siJuanDalandan

        Senkaku was annexed by Japan in 1895, not during WW2.

      • Trulahn

        The condition of the surrender included some lands they conquered prior to WW2 and 1895 was within the time frame defined in the surrender. By your argument, Manchuria (Northeastern China) was annexed by Japan prior to WW2 broke out and wouldn’t be returned to China either.

        I agree with Alfa Saclao, the Senkaku/Diayu was classified by both the Imperial Chinese and Japanese governments to be part of the Province of Taiwan. Taiwan is also currently the seat of the government of the Republic of China, which was our WW2 ally, not the PRC. In all fairness, Taiwan has the most legitimate claim, but unfortunately the weakest international standing.

    • stealth ice

      you can only move forward if you forgive and forget the past.
      if no one can contain the aggression of china then the history will repeat itself. now china will be the aggressor. Philippines will be the first victim of chinese aggression. just visit divisoria and binondo. they are well positioned already to attack the Philippines. it’s a trojan horse.

  • HarryK

    To allay the fears, America just have to tell Japan to re-apply their Pearl Harbor strategy on the Chinese.

  • noynoyingalways

    CHINA the pirated country lool you’re going down =)

  • WeAry_Bat

    The increasing militarization in Asia was brought about by the bullying ways of China. Combine that with the largely economic decline globally, then what is the picture?

    Think of the past.

    The initial conditions which led to World War 1. Unlike the past world wars, we will never survive or climb out within a century from a modern world war.

    So I revise my ways and suggest we commentators must side with dialog and peaceful negotiation.

    But still, don’t buy anything China. The food may be cancerous and tainted, the goods may have lead and other toxic elements aside from easily breaking down.

  • $18209031

    White Kanos, its not your fight. China needs to whup Japo azzes for their crimes committed on the Chinese nation in 1937.

    • leadyourself

      so, in 76 years, will china answer for their crimes in tibet?

    • Ross

      They already bomb with Nuke twice by thier allies before, quits? hehehe

    • China_Lee

      How about China’s crime against Tibet? Killings of its Citizen? Is that ok for China? Wow your dreaming my friend!

  • Htee

    So, are we going to sit back, with pop corn in hand, and watch them play their deadly game? Or are we going to at least buy some defensive deterant ourself and maybe buy as as couple of weeks longer when the shooting starts.

  • i_am_filipino

    THE WORLD KNOWS THAT CHINA IS A THREAT AND EVIL, EVIL, EVIL, EVIL, EVIL.

    • Nothandsome Nottrue

      isama na rin malaysia

  • Nothandsome Nottrue

    bakit nagagawa ng USA yan sa Japan na tulungan. eh meron din naman mutual agreement ang pinas at USA ah. dapat gayan din gawin nila regarding spartly islands. wala kasing yagbols si pinoy eh.

    • siJuanDalandan

      Hindi si PNoy ang isyu. Sa usaping Senkaku-Diaoyu island, dalawa lang ang claimants: Japan saka China. Mas madaling pumisiyon ang U.S. sa usaping ito dahil Japan lang ang military ally ng U.S.

      Sa usaping Spratly Islands naman, mas marami ang claimants: Vietnam, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, at Taiwan. Bukod sa Pilipinas, may military commitment din ang U.S. sa Taiwan at Vietnam. Kaya hindi ganong kadaling magdeklara ng posisyon at maglabas ng baraha ang mga kano. Naninimbang sila.

  • $14141131

    Japan must put people and defense structures in the islands if they want to assert their sovereign territory over the Senkaku islands.

  • $14141131

    Why is Japan not occupying the Senkaku Islands if they are part of their sovereign territory? What are they waiting for? Why wait for China to possess the islands and retake them with the US support? This is weird. The US is waiting for trouble to start in Asia before entering like “Superman” behind Japan.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BJWOSERENIZQCR35IJH6SLXBUI cali

    Once the US sounded off that its defense of Japan includes the disputed islands, you will know China will be BIG CRY BABY and won’t make a move.
    Since the US did not say anything about the Spratlys and Scarboroug, you can see the BULLY China moving its forces within those disputed seas and islands

  • white scorpion

    i hope both side will do battle in the chess board. who ever wins win the battle. bloodless war.
    ………although next to impossible. or else we have to kiss our earth goodbye.

  • China_Lee

    Japan should start producing Atomic bomb and send to China, and China send their own fake on to Japan. So go now. They needs that islands and then make war. So start now! Stupid people no satisfaction. They make history as their own everything, no law, no regulations, I’m tired of it.

    • Trulahn

      The 2nd and 3rd largest economies in the world fighting a war, with the largest economy pledged to join in to support #3, will be disastrous for global economy. Euro zone economy will collapse in less than a minute with US, China, Japan locked in a war against each other. We are looking at a world wide Great Depression here.

    • Loggnat

      Do you really think Japan does not possess nuclear weapons? How about Israel?

  • noypisiTED

    What about the Philippines and US are there any such thing? The Philippines is also being bullied by China isn’t it? Sec. VoltGaz what about? Initiate. Before we knew it China gobbled up the entire breadth of West Phil. Sea. Kilos Sec.!

  • stealth ice

    arming japan is the only way to balance the military power of china.

    • Trulahn

      Japan is fighting South Korea on another island dispute as well. Both countries are our allies/subordinates. Which side should we take there? I think the US had meddled with the affairs of East Asia for far too long. It actually may not be a bad thing to have a rival super power. One of the best thing during the Cold War was that we only had to deal with the USSR. Mother Russia would have controlled all the baby communist countries like Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, China, and Warsaw Pact nations for us once US and USSR reach an agreement. Now we have to scheme against the entire world without anyone helping us.

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