September 15, 2012 by Water Wisdom
CNC report from Washington
Added On September 1, 2012
After tension between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands escalated in recent weeks, the U.S. has maintained it holds “no stance” on the sovereignty disputes between the two.
But an awkward moment occurred early this week when the U.S. State Department spokeswoman shunned a question from a Chinese reporter regarding ownership of the islands.
The scene occurred at a press briefing on Tuesday, when a Chinese reporter asked U.S. State Department Representative Victoria Nuland whether the U.S. refers to islands with their Chinese names, or Japanese…
(QUESTION: What is the official name for the Senkaku Islands for the United States? Is it the Diaoyu Islands or Senkaku Islands, or both are OK?
NULAND: Our — I’m going to go to my special little rocks (ph) cheat sheet here, because this is getting quite complicated, with lots of…
QUESTION: Yes. Do you have one?
NULAND: … different things here. So — make sure I get it — get it right here. So the one — yeah, so as — as we’ve said, we call them the Senkakus, so if that’s the question that you’re asking — we don’t take a position on them, though, as I’ve said all the way through.)
According to Nuland, the U.S. does not take a position on the issue, though Washington calls the islands by their Japanese name, and says the area will be covered by the U.S.-Japan security treaty.
(QUESTION: So you don’t take a position on them, but on the other hand, you think that islands is covered by the defense treaty between Japan and the United States, right? Is that correct?
NULAND: Yes, we’ve…
QUESTION: Do you think that those two things contradict…
NULAND: … consistently said that we see them falling under the scope of Article 5 of the 1960 U.S.-Japan Treaty.
QUESTION: Do you think that — do you — do you think that is contradictory? Because, for me, it sounds like contradictory. You said you don’t have a position on the sovereignty of the islands, but on the other hand, you said it’s covered by the treaty which only protects Japanese territories.
NULAND: But this is because the Senkakus have been under the administrative control of the government of Japan since they were returned as part of the reversion of Okinawa since 1972.
QUESTION: So let me rephrase my question. Do you regard the islands as Japanese territory?
NULAND: Again, we don’t take a position on the islands. But we do assert that they are covered under the treaty.
QUESTION: So you think this island is under the administration of…
NULAND: I think I’ve answered the question. Let’s move on.
QUESTION: No, you don’t have — no…)
The word-throwing ended after Nuland moved hastily onto the next question.
The clip was later posted on many Chinese websites, gaining millions of hits by Internet users. Many said the reporter did a good job in challenging the spokeswoman.
Ran Wei, the reporter from Xinhua, China’s official news agency, says he wants to clarify several issues.
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) RAN WEI, XINHUA REPORTER:
“I think the core issue, as well as my major concern here, is that whether the U.S. takes the Diaoyu Islands as Japnese territory. Nuland kept shunning the question by repeating the U.S. stance on the issue. But the question was still not answered by that stance.”
Commentary by Xinhua suggests that Washington is playing games.
The agency cited a joint drill with Tokyo and the U.S.-Japan security treaty’s application to the islands as inherantly contradictory to its assertion of no stance on the issue.
The article then called on the U.S. to back up its words with action…
In the latest development, China last week expressed strong opposition to Noda’s remarks that the Diaoyu Islands were part of Japan by the Meiji Era, after the Sino-Japanese war.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman also said the country’s armed forces are capable of safeguarding its maritime rights, in a direct reference to the disputed Islands.
Victoria Nuland: We don’t take a position on the Senkakus
Transcript of a regular press briefing with Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the US Department of State:
Chinese journalist: What is the official name for the Senkaku Islands for the United States? Is it the Diaoyu Islands or the Senkaku Islands? Or both are okay?
Victoria Nuland: I’m going to my special little rocks cheat sheet here because this is getting quite complicated with different things here.
Journalist: Yes, do you have one?
Nuland: So, make sure I get it right here… So… As we’ve said… we call them the Senkakus, if that’s the question that you’re asking. We don’t take a position on them, as we’ve said all the way through.
Journalist: So you don’t take a position on them, but on the other hand, you think that the islands are covered by the defense treaty between Japan and the United States, right?
Nuland: Yes, we’ve consistently said that we see them falling under the scope of Article 5 of the 1960 US-Japan Treaty.
Journalist: Do you think that is contradictory? For me, that sounds contradictory. You said you don’t have a position on the sovereignty of the islands, but on the other hand you said it’s covered under the Treaty, which only protects Japanese treaty.
Nuland: But this is because the Senkakus have been under the administrative control of the government of Japan since they were returned as part of the reversion of Okinawa since 1972.
Journalist: So let me rephrase my question. Do you regard the Islands as Japanese territory?
Nuland: Again we don’t take a position on the Islands, but we do assert that they are covered under the Treaty.
Journalist So you think the Islands are under the administration of…
Nuland: I think I’ve answered the question. Let’s move on…