Japan Backs Pompeo's Criticism of China Maritime Claims


Tokyo, July 14 (Jiji Press)--Japan supports U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement that China's maritime claims in the South China Sea are "completely unlawful," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday.

"I recognize it as a signal of the United States' unwavering commitment to peace and stability in the region," Suga said at a press conference.

He also expressed concern over China's movements in the area, saying that Japan opposes any actions that raise tensions in the South China Sea.

Japan-China relations had been improving in recent years, but Tokyo struck a hard line against its East Asian neighbor over its unilateral activities, especially in light of Chinese ships' frequent intrusions into Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, southwestern Japan. China claims the Japanese-administered islands, which it calls Diaoyu.

"Our nation has consistently advocated the importance of the rule of law and the use of peaceful means instead of force and coercion," Suga said, suggesting that Japan will cooperate with the United States for that purpose.

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