U.S. Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said Friday his recent remarks supporting Tokyo's claims over the sovereignty of the Japanese-controlled, China-claimed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea were an "error" and apologized for any confusion.

"There is no change to U.S. policy regarding the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands," the press secretary said, apparently referring to Washington's position of neutrality over who has sovereignty over the uninhabited islets.

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