Obama pledges Ja­pan is­lands sup­port as Asian tour be­gins

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama has as­sured Ja­pan that is­lands at the cen­tre of its ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute with China are cov­ered by a bi­lat­eral de­fence treaty.

In an in­ter­view ahead of his Asian tour, Mr Obama said the US would op­pose any at­tempt to un­der­mine Ja­pan’s con­trol over the is­lands.

US of­fi­cials have made such com­ments in the past, but this is the first time Mr Obama has given such ex­plicit sup­port.

He ar­rived in Ja­pan on Wed­nes­day ahead of stops in three other Asian na­tions.

China’s for­eign min­istry has said it op­poses the is­lands be­ing cov­ered by the de­fence treaty.

“The so-called US-Ja­pan al­liance is a bi­lat­eral ar­range­ment from the Cold War and ought not to harm China’s ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty and rea­son­able rights,” spokesman Qin Gang said in Bei­jing dur­ing a reg­u­lar press brief­ing.

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