“We’re watching … that tension very, very carefully, and certainly our commitment to the region remains,” Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters.
“And, you know, we’re hopeful that the political and diplomatic efforts would reduce that tension specifically, and haven’t seen anything that would, I guess, raise the alarm levels higher than that.”
The China-Japan tension escalated following a Sept. 7 incident involving a Chinese fishing boat that was ordered out of waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands. The boat responded by ramming two Japanese patrol boats, and its captain and crew were detained and an investigation launched. The 14 crew members were eventually released but the captain, Zhan Qixiong, remains in custody.
In New York, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton discussed the China-Japan dispute during a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and urged both sides to pursue dialogue, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.
“Neither side wants to see the situation escalate to the point where it has long-term regional impact,” Mr. Crowley said.
The Senkaku Islands are in the western Pacific, south of Okinawa and north of Taiwan.
China’s government issued several diplomatic protest notes and canceled a visit to Japan by a senior government official. Beijing also suspended plans to resume talks with Japan on disputed undersea natural-gas fields.
According to Japanese officials, nationalist sentiment in China has resulted in several incidents of anti-Japanese violence in China, including the breaking of windows at a Japanese school in Beijing.View Entire Story
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Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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