Obama says disputed islands within scope of U.S.-Japan security treaty

TOKYO Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:36pm EDT

A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 2012. REUTERS/Kyodo

A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kyodo

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TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said that islands at the center of a territorial dispute between Japan and China fall within the scope of the U.S.-Japan security treaty, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily said on Wednesday.

Obama, who arrives in Japan later on Wednesday on the first step of a four-nation Asian visit, made the remarks in written replies to questions.

Obama also said the United States, Tokyo's key ally, opposes any unilateral attempt to undermine Japan's administration of the Senkakus, which are also claimed by China, and that any disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, not intimidation.

(Reporting by Linda Sieg; Writing by Elaine Lies; Editing by Dominic Lau)

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