US vows to defend Japan against China
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Secretary of State John Kerry vowed Friday that the United States would defend Japan against attack including over islands claimed by China as tensions boil between the Asian powers.
Mr Kerry, who announced that he would visit China on a trip starting next week, met in Washington with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and reaffirmed the 1960 treaty that commits the United States to protect its ally.
“That includes with respect to the South China Sea,” he said, before correcting himself to say the East China Sea, where China and Japan have conflicting claims.
Fears of conflict rose in November when China imposed an Air Defence Identification Zone over much of the East China Sea, requiring planes to report to Beijing when crossing islands administered by Tokyo known in Japanese as the Senkaku and in Chinese as Diaoyu.