Pushing Back on China Works

Lee Lukoff /

This week’s encouraging news—that the U.S. affirmed its security commitment to Japan under the 1960 bilateral defense treaty—sends exactly the right signal to China: that the U.S. will push back on Beijing’s increasing assertiveness in the region. Most notably, Washington went far beyond long-standing ambiguous diplomatic statements to publicly state for the first time that the Senkakus (which the Chinese call the Diaoyutai islands) were specifically protected under the defense accord.

China claims sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands, but the Japanese have administered them since the United States ceded control of them to Japan in 1972. China’s claim is viewed by some as a front for exerting its control over any possible resources in the islands’ waters (including fishing grounds and potential hydrocarbon deposits). (more…)