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Analysts: Japan's chaotic voices to harm ties

By Zhang Yunbi  (China Daily)

08:37, July 26, 2012

Analysts said Japan's effort to involve the United States in its rival claim over China's Diaoyu Islands shows "its lack of bargaining power", and its domestic political chaos and contradictory remarks are stirring up frictions over the islands.

Like his predecessors, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba has made repeated calls on Washington to take a position on the Chinese islands and affiliated islets in the East China Sea.

Gemba even told the Japanese House of Representatives on Tuesday that he had confirmed with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the islands "fall within the scope" of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, an agreement symbolizing Washington's commitment to necessary security support.

However, Washington has not responded yet to the remarks, and Beijing on Wednesday slammed Gemba's remarks with "great concern and firm opposition".

"Any private deals made between the United States and Japan after World War II concerning the Diaoyu Islands are illegal and invalid," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a written reply.

The treaty should not undermine the interests of third parties, including China, and Beijing hopes "countries concerned can contribute more to regional peace and stability".

Gao Hong, a Japanese studies researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Japan's repeated resorts to Article 5 of the US-Japan treaty shows a lasting shortage of bargaining power to back Tokyo's claim. Washington will not sacrifice US-China ties over the territorial issue, he added.

"The US will not commit itself to a major conflict with China, and mainstream Japanese opinion also places few bets on the possibility of US military support to the islands claim," Gao said.

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