• Kyodo

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China on Thursday rapped U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter for saying that the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands fall under the U.S.-Japan security treaty.

Speaking Wednesday in Tokyo, Carter said the United States strongly opposes “any unilateral, coercive action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administrative control of the Senkaku Islands.”

Commenting on the remark during a regular press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the U.S.-Japan alliance is a relic of the Cold War and that China “firmly opposes” its use “to harm the interests of any third party.”

China bitterly disputes Japan’s rights to the East China Sea islets, known as Diaoyu in Chinese, and regularly sends patrol vessels into nearby waters.

“We urge the U.S. to be prudent in its words and actions, not take sides on territorial issues and do more to contribute to regional stability,” Hua said.

Carter was in Tokyo to discuss revisions to the U.S.-Japan bilateral defense guidelines that define the scope of joint operations between the U.S. military and the Self-Defense Forces.

The changes are expected to be unveiled in the run-up to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s trip to the United States later this month.

Carter stopped in Japan as part of his first tour of Asia since taking over as Pentagon chief in February.

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