China cried foul on Thursday over talks between the Japan and the United States to develop operational plans should Tokyo’s territorial dispute with Beijing in the Diaoyu Islands turn sour. From Reuters:
Shigeru Iwasaki, head of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces’ joint staff, and Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific, are expected to agree that the allies will accelerate the drafting of the plans when they meet in Hawaii on Thursday and Friday, Kyodo news agency said.
They will likely review several scenarios including one under which Japanese and U.S. armed forces conduct joint operations in case China invades the islands, Kyodo said. The Nikkei business daily carried a similar report on Wednesday.
“China is extremely concerned by these reports … The Chinese government has the determination and ability to maintain the nation’s territorial sovereignty,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.
“No outside pressure will affect the resolve and determination of the Chinese government and people to maintain territorial sovereignty.”
Tensions between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands, known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands, spiked last September when Japan’s central government agreed to purchase three of the islets from their private Japanese owners. A string of anti-Japanese demonstrations ensued across China, even turning violent as angry protesters targeted Japanese-owned businesses and products. Both sides have continued to run sea and air patrols near the territory, with Japan even scrambling fighter jets on two occasions after claiming that Chinese surveillance planes violated its airspace. Reuters reported earlier this month that China’s goal in the area is to overwhelm or wear out the Japanese forces tasked with monitoring their movements.
One U.S. defense official claimed that the plans between Japan and the United States are routine and consistent with the U.S. policy of finding a peaceful resolution to the issue, according to The Wall Street Journal:
U.S. defense officials noted that the Pentagon routinely updates its military plans for a variety of potential conflicts. The official declined to give details of the plan, or say how it was being changed. But such plans generally include a variety of scenarios, from trying to repel an enemy force from taking an island to retaking islands after a conflict.
“It shouldn’t be a surprise we have a plan to defend our ally against aggression in a tense situation,” said a U.S. defense official.