China has warned the United States not to support Japan regarding a group of uninhabited islands, which are the subject of a territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo.In a meeting with visiting US officials in Beijing on Friday, Chinese Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Army Wang Guanzhong warned against US interference in the issue of the Diaoyu Islands, as they are known in China, located in the East China Sea. “This issue should not become a problem between China and the United States, and China hopes that the United States does not become a third party in this issue, ” the Chinese Defense Ministry quoted Wang as saying during a meeting with US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller. The Chinese official said Beijing had all along exercised restraint but is nevertheless prepared to defend its territory in case of escalation of conflicts.
“The United States should maintain a consistent stance and policy, not send wrong signals nor support and connive with the relevant country to do as they please, ” Wang stated.Japan has long been engaged in a dispute with China over the sovereignty of the group of the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which are alternatively known as Senkaku in Japan. The islands are located near a crucial shipping lane and give the owner exclusive oil, mineral and fishing rights in the surrounding waters. On September 11, 2012, Tokyo signed a deal to buy three of the islands from their private Japanese owner in line with plans to nationalize the archipelago. In late April, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo would “expel by force” any Chinese individuals landing on the islands, following an incident during which eight Chinese vessels entered the disputed waters.