Washington: US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has called up his Japanese counterpart to discuss the security situation following a Chinese decision to establish an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea.
During the telephonic conversation with Itsunori Onodera, Hagel yesterday said China`s announcement is a "potentially destabilising unilateral action" designed to change the status quo in the region, and raises the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculation.
According to Assistant Press Secretary Carl Woog, Hagel commended the Japanese government for exercising appropriate restraint in the wake of this announcement.
"Hagel assured Onodera that US military operations will not in any way change as a result of China`s announcement, noting that recent routine and long-planned US flight operations have already occurred as normal following the announcement," the Pentagon official said.
Hagel reaffirmed longstanding US policy that Article V of the Japan-US Mutual Defence Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands, and pledged to consult closely with Japan on efforts to avoid unintended incidents, Woog said.
Hagel also discussed with Onodera continued progress on steps to realign US Forces in Japan and mitigate impacts on the people of Okinawa.
"Hagel conveyed to Onodera that resolving remaining issues is a top priority of the Pentagon as part of our rebalance to Asia-Pacific and goal of achieving a force posture that is more geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable," Woog said.