U.S. says can help Japan monitor 'unprecedented' Chinese incursion around disputed East China Sea islands

TOKYO (Reuters) – The U.S. military can help monitor “unprecedented incursions” by Chinese ships around islands in the East China Sea controlled by Japan and also claimed by China that could escalate next month after Beijing lifts a fishing ban in the area, the commander of U.S. Forces Japan, General Kevin Schneider, said on Wednesday.

The United States does not take a position on sovereignty over the uninhabited islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, but has said that it would help its ally Japan defend against any attack.

China’s foreign ministry immediately reacted to Schneider’s comments, saying the islands were Chinese territory and calling on all parties to uphold stability in the region.

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