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U.S. defense chief criticizes China’s maritime advancement around Senkakus

Asahi and Yomiuri took up a speech delivered online on Monday by Secretary of Defense Esper, during which he took issue with China’s aggressive maritime operations in the South and East China Seas, including around the disputed Senkaku Islands. The top U.S. defense official reportedly stated that China has been increasing the frequency and duration of its intrusions in the vicinity of the outcrops, which he said are “under Japan’s administration.” As for U.S. media reports that President Trump is considering a drawdown of U.S. troops in South Korea, the Secretary reportedly stressed that the administration has “issued no orders to withdraw forces from the Korean Peninsula.” However, he also hinted at a possible cutback by saying that the DOD will “continue to look at adjustments, at every command we have in every theater, to make sure we are optimizing our forces.” Secretary Esper also mentioned Japan’s security posture in East Asia by saying: “Japan’s security role in this region is growing. We welcome that Japan will play a larger role.”

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