On Tuesday the United States Senate passed a defense policy bill that see Washington acknowledging that the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands are covered by the bilateral security treaty between Japan and the U.S. This move will more than surely anger China, as it recently had to be informed that while the U.S. remains quiet on the territorial dispute, it is not neutral in which country it will support.
The bill is seen as a reaffirmation of the U.S.’s commitments to the Japanese government under Article V of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, which was formed post-WWII. The U.S. says it will acknowledge that Japan has administration over the Senkaku Islands, located in the East China Sea, and the actions of a third-party will not change that stance, the bill states in a nod towards China‘s aggressive actions over the dispute. The overall point of the Japan-U.S. security treaty is that the United States will defend its asian ally in the event of an armed attack.
Once the bill passes through the House of Representatives, it is expected to be signed by U.S. President Barack Obama. On another topic, the bill also contains an amendment that cuts the $26 million budged for relocating some of the U.S. forces stationed in Okinawa to Guam, something the people of Japan’s southernmost island have been demanding for years. The Japanese government has agreed to pay half of the relocation fees, up to $830 million, and the U.S. repeatedly stated it make efforts to reduce the Okinawa’s burden of hosting more than half of all the troops stationed in Japan, however little action has been taken over the years and no timeframes have been set.