US, Japan say defence agreements apply to disputed Senkaku islands with China

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during their meeting at the White House in Washington. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Washington, DC, United States Feb 10, 2017, 08.18 PM (IST)

US President Donald Trump offered Japan assurances Friday that mutual defense agreements cover the disputed Senkaku Islands, claimed by China as the Diaoyus.

After repeatedly questioning defense pacts, Trump signed off on a joint statement with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that reaffirms America's security guarantee.

The pair said they "oppose any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan's administration of these islands" -- comments that are sure to rile Beijing.  

China warned the US it was risking instability in Asia after Trump's new defense secretary vowed to back Japan in any military clash over the disputed island chain.

China, which is also involved in a widening dispute with several Southeast Asian countries over islands in the South China Sea, accused Washington of stirring up trouble.