US urges ‘cooler heads’ between Japan, China
‘It is not in the interest of any country of the
world to destabilize the peace in the region’:
US: The United States called Tuesday for calm between Japan and China
after Beijing sent ships to disputed islands in the East China Sea in
response to Tokyo's purchase of them.
“We think, in the current environment, we want cooler heads to
prevail, frankly,” said Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state
for East Asian and Pacific affairs.
Campbell, echoing remarks this weekend by Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton at the end of a tour of Asia, said that calm was critical
because the region serves as a “cockpit of the global economy.”
“The stakes could not be bigger,” Campbell said at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies, a think tank.
“We believe that peaceful dialogue and the maintenance of peace and
security is of utmost importance always but particularly now in this set
of circumstances,” Campbell said. In line with repeated US statements,
Campbell said that Washington did not take positions on the various and
increasingly bitter territorial disputes around Asia.
China said that it was dispatching two marine surveillance ships to
“assert its sovereignty” over the islands in the East China Sea known in
Chinese as the Diaoyu and in Japan as the Senkaku islands. The move came
after Japan said it would nationalize the islands through a purchase
from private Japanese landowners.
The islands lie near potentially lucrative mineral resources and are
strategically close to the Taiwan Strait.
Asia has been riveted by a series of disputes including tensions in
the South China Sea and a flareup between US allies Japan and South
Korea over islets in the Sea of Japan, which Koreans call the East
Sea.Clinton, speaking Sunday at an Asia-Pacific summit in Vladivostok,
Russia, said that she urged Japan and South Korea to “lower the
temperature and work together.”
More broadly in Asia, Clinton warned that it was “not in the interest
of the United States or the rest of the world to raise doubts and
uncertainties about the stability and peace in the region.”