BEIJING--China has responded sharply to comments by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the disputed Senkaku Islands.
Clinton expressed opposition to "any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration" over the territory during Japan-U.S. talks at foreign ministerial level in Washington on Jan. 18.
In response, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Jan. 20 that Clinton's warning against a move by China failed to acknowledge the rights and wrongs of the situation.
"The United States should be careful with its words," Qin said, and expressed "strong discontent" and "firm opposition" to the statement.
Qin said the U.S. side also bears its historical responsibility in the matter, apparently hinting that the United States did not clearly address the territorial issue when it returned Okinawa to Japan in 1972.
He also said current tensions between China and Japan over the islands stemmed from Tokyo escalating its provocation.
The Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea are administered by Japan, but claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.

In a related story, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked what her husband's thoughts are on this sensitive matter. Madame's Secretary's reply below: