The Washington Times Daily - - World -

A for­mer U.S. am­bas­sador to Ja­pan this week warned that Chi­nese ag­gres­sion in the re­gion is like a “tin­der­box” that could erupt in flames and en­dan­ger Wash­ing­ton’s strong­est ally in Asia.

John Thomas Schi­ef­fer, who served in Tokyo from 2005 to 2009, said at a sem­i­nar in Tokyo that the U.S. shares Ja­pan’s anx­i­ety over China’s bel­liger­ence in the East and South China seas and its claim on is­lands rec­og­nized as Ja­panese ter­ri­tory.

He com­pared the dis­pute over Ja­pan’s Senkaku is­lands to “tin­der­boxes that can be lit quickly,” Ja­pan’s Kyodo News re­ported.

Ichiro Fuk­isaki, a for­mer Ja­panese am­bas­sador to the U.S., said he shares Mr. Schi­ef­fer’s con­cerns but added that the U.S.-Ja­panese de­fense treaty is the “big­gest de­ter­rence” to Chi­nese mil­i­tary ad­ven­tur­ism.

Last month, Sec­re­tary of State John F. Kerry and De­fense Sec­re­tary Chuck Hagel trav­eled to Ja­pan to meet with For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Fu­mio Kishida and De­fense Min­is­ter It­sunori On­odera to dis­cuss strength­en­ing the 1952 de­fense pact.

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