President Obama on Tuesday invoked U.S. military defense guarantees for Japan’s disputed East China Sea islands that have been the target of coordinated Chinese military provocations since 2012.
Recent satellite photos of an island off the coast of China confirm Beijing’s buildup of military forces within attack range of Japan’s Senkaku islands.
Aggressive moves by China to assert territorial claims run the risk of “miscalculations” but are also helping Washington strengthen ties with other countries in the region, the general who oversees U.S. air forces in the Pacific said Monday.
“Being fairly aggressive runs the risk of creating the potential for miscalculation,” Air Force General Herbert Carlisle told defense reporters in Washington. “That’s something we think about every day.”
The Chinese military conducted military exercises with its three fleets in the South China Sea, the first since 2010, amid continuing tensions over the Senkaku Islands.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned China against any attempt to land on the disputed Senkaku Islands, saying Japan would respond with force.
Japan took action in emergency situations a record high 306 times in fiscal year 2012 (through March) in response to Chinese intrusions, according to the Japan Times.
United States intelligence agencies recently detected China’s military shifting road-mobile ballistic missiles closer to its southern coast near the disputed Senkaku Islands amid growing tensions between Beijing and Japan over the islands dispute.
Law enforcement and national security agencies are investigating the hacking of a White House computer last month that penetrated a network inside the White House Military Office that handles top-secret data, U.S. officials said.
A recent series of cyber attacks on Japanese Internet sites originated in China and were viewed as a possible prelude to military action, according to defense officials familiar with details of the attacks.
China’s most powerful military leader, in an unusual public statement, last week ordered military forces to prepare for combat, as Chinese warships deployed to waters near disputed islands and anti-Japan protests throughout the country turned violent.