China knocks Mattis remarks on East Asia

China knocks Mattis remarks on East Asia
© Greg Nash

A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry slammed Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisWhy Russia covets hypersonic weapons Talk grows that Trump will fire Dan Coats Graham cursed at acting DOD chief, declaring himself his 'adversary' MORE’s assertion that the U.S. would defend Japan’s claim to a group of islands also claimed by China, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Spokesman Lu Kang said that Mattis’s remarks and the U.S. involvement in the dispute undermines regional stability and called a longstanding treaty between Japan and the U.S. “a product of the Cold War, which should not impair China’s territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights.”

"We urge the U.S. side to take a responsible attitude, stop making wrong remarks on the issue involving the Diaoyu islands' sovereignty, and avoid making the issue more complicated and bringing instability to the regional situation," Lu said in a statement on the ministry’s website, according to the AP.

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Mattis told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a trip to Asia earlier this week that the Trump administration would continue the longstanding U.S. policy of honoring Tokyo’s claim to the Senkaku islands, known as the Diaoyu in China.

Lu also lashed out against Mattis for reaffirming a commitment to place a missile defense system in South Korea to defend against a potential North Korean nuclear Strike.

He said the installation of the system “will jeopardize security and the strategic interests of regional countries, including China, and undermine the strategic balance in the region," according to the AP.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE has frequently taken a hardline stance on China, accusing the country of currency manipulation and not taking a tougher position against North Korea.