China "gravely concerned" about US-Japan island talks

2013-03-21 23:54:28 GMT2013-03-22 07:54:28(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday that no outside pressure can shake the will and determination of the Chinese government and its people in defending national territorial sovereignty.

Hong made the comment in response to media reports that Japan and the United States have started mapping out joint operational plans over the Diaoyu Islands and the entire East China Sea.

"China is gravely concerned with relevant media reports," said Hong, reiterating that the Diaoyu Islands are China's inherent territory.

The Chinese government has the resolution and capability to safeguard national territorial sovereignty, said the spokesman.

Japan and the United States have started talks on military plans in case of armed conflict over a group of East China Sea Islets claimed by Tokyo and Beijing, Japanese media said on Thursday.

The Pentagon confirmed talks were being held on Thursday and Friday between Shigeru Iwasaki, head of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces’ joint staff, and Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific, but said they were meant to discuss “the overall security environment in the Asia-Pacific region.”

“As a matter of policy, we do not discuss our military planning efforts,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Catherine Wilkinson said.

Kyodo news agency said the two leaders were expected to agree that the allies will accelerate the drafting of the plans when they meet in Hawaii on Thursday and Friday. They will also 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.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, however, said the talks “are not held as military planning efforts.”

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Editor: Mei Jingya
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