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Japanese columnist says Pentagon spokesperson misspoke on Senkakus

  • March 4, 2021
  • , Mainichi
  • JMH Summary

Mainichi published a column by senior writer Bando on Pentagon Press Secretary Kirby’s remark correcting his earlier statement that the United States supports Japan’s claim of sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. Some Japanese observers viewed Kirby’s original statement as a shift in the U.S.’s decades-long policy of not taking sides in the Sino-Japanese territorial dispute. However, Bando claimed that the DOD official probably misspoke when trying to express U.S. solidarity with an ally and highlight Washington’s tough approach to China. He speculated that the spokesperson used the phrase “Japan’s sovereignty” over the outcrops when he actually meant to say “Japan’s administration.” The columnist voiced regret that the clarification left the impression that Washington had walked back its position. Bando also conjectured that the U.S.’s position that it opposes any unilateral attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea is perhaps directed not only at China but also Japan.

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