Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the Pacific Command, reaffirmed Washington’s commitment Wednesday to defend the small islands owned by Japan in the East China Sea under a bilateral security treaty if attacked, while taking the rare step of naming China as the possible aggressor.

At an event at a Washington think tank, Harris said, “We will clearly defend them if they are attacked by China.” He is referring to the Senkakus, a group of islets claimed by China, which calls them the Diaoyu.


U.S. leaders including President Barack Obama have already stated that the 1960 security treaty, which obliges the U.S. military to defend Japan including Senkakus if it is attacked.

Washington says it does not take sides on the conflicting claims to sovereignty over the islets.



  1. The United States will honor this vow, because it sees a Chinese attack on the Senkakus for what it is — a prelude to wider war against the United States and Japan. The PRC’s claim to the Senkakus cannot be justified by international law or history but stems from a strategic imperative. The Senkakus lie in the way of the PLA Navy’s approach to the body of water lying between the Japanese islands of Okinawajima and Miyakojima. The submarines staging to the Pacific from the PLAN base at Ningbo usually egress through this water. They can be much more easily tracked if they need to navigate en route around the Japanese territorial waters surrounding the Senkakus.The PLAN needs to be able to breach this chokepoint–part of what Chinese strategists call the First Island Chain–in order to blockade and invade Taiwan. The PRC needs to control this chokepoint in order to seize control of the Western Pacific, launch its nuclear submarines against the United States, and defeat any attempt by the U.S. Seventh Fleet to come to the aid of Taiwan.

  2. I hope obama has the will to be a leader should this happen but i seriously doubt it. He has failed to show strength for almost 8 years so why start ?

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