The tensions between China and Japan stem in part from an uninhabited island near rich fishing grounds that were bought by the Japanese government from a private Japanese owner last year.
According to a Reuters article, Chinese-Japanese relations are at their lowest point since normalization of relations more than 40 years ago.
“Our position is that we don’t take a position on territorial issues,” said U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.
In the case of Japan in particular, however, I was careful to remind them that we do have certain treaty obligations with Japan that we would honour,” he said.
The security treaty between the U.S. and Japan commits the U.S. to intervene in defence of Japan if there is an attack on Japanese territory.
Japan said that the drills that are to take place off California include scenarios involving the recapture of an isolated island.