World

If China grabs Senkakus, U.S. military would snatch them back: top marine commander

Kyodo

If China invaded the Japan-held Senkaku Islands, U.S. Marines in the Pacific would swiftly recapture them, the commander of marines deployed in Japan assured.

“It’s a very, very small collection of small islands,” the U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes quoted Lt. Gen. John Wissler as saying Friday at a breakfast with defense reporters in Washington.

“You wouldn’t maybe even necessarily have to put somebody on that island until you had eliminated the threat, so to speak. And that’s where that whole integration of our full capabilities as a Navy-Marine Corps team would be of value,” Wissler said.

The Senkakus, known as Diaoyu in China, which contests their sovereignty, fall under Japan’s jurisdiction in the East China Sea. China has repeatedly sent ships into Japanese territorial waters near the islets to assert its territorial claim.

On Tuesday in Beijing, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told his Chinese counterpart, Chang Wanquan, that the Japan-U.S. security treaty applies to the Senkakus.