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The United States urged Japan to consult with China prior to Tokyo’s 2012 purchase of the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea from a private owner, a declassified email forwarded to then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed Saturday.

In the email dated Sept 3, 2012, about a week before Japan’s purchase of the Senkakus claimed by China and Taiwan, then U.S. Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said he had urged Japan’s then Vice Foreign Minister Kenichiro Sasae and the Japanese government to “consult and advise Beijing on their plans.”

Campbell said he had requested Japan’s prior consultation with China when he met with Sasae on Aug 7, 2012, in Tokyo. At that time, the Japanese government “has just concluded a round of deliberations and apparently their PRC (People’s Republic of China) counterparts were irate,” according to the email.

“Sasae however believes that China actually understands the necessity of these actions and will accept them. I’m not so sure,” Campbell said in the message sent to senior State Department officials.

The Japanese government purchased three of the five main Senkaku islands from a private landowner on Sept 11, 2012, to bring them under its control. The action enraged China and sparked a wave of anti-Japanese protests in the country.

The e-mail titled “Sasae call” was written shortly after Sasae conveyed to Washington by phone Tokyo’s intention to put the Senkakus under state control. It was declassified Friday by the State Department in connection with Clinton’s use of a private email server for her work as secretary of state, which has been highlighted in her current presidential campaign.

In the message, Campbell also said although the Japanese government and the private owner have agreed on a purchase price, then Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara, who had been raising funds at the metropolitan government to buy the uninhabited islands, was “unlikely to consent” to the central government’s action.


Tag(s) : #Asia-Pacific

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