A US Congressional report said Washington has never recognized Japan's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands and takes no position over the territorial row between Japan and China.
The report, published on Sept 25 by the Congressional Research Service, said the US recognizes only Japan's administrative power over the Diaoyu Islands after the Okinawa Reversion Treaty was signed in 1971.
China-Japan relations hit the lowest point in years after Tokyo's so-called purchase of the Diaoyu Islands on Sept 10, a move sparking wide protest across China. The islands have been Chinese territory for centuries.
During Senate deliberations on whether to consent to the ratification of the treaty, the US State Department asserted that the US took a neutral position with regard to the competing claims of Japan and China, despite the US' return of the islands to Japanese administration.
"Department officials asserted that reversion of administrative rights to Japan did not prejudice any claims to the islands," said the report from the Congress' think tank, the public-policy research arm of the US Congress.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Monday said he noted the US' neutral position on the Diaoyu Islands in the report and added he hopes the US will "walk the talk".
Analysts said the report, which reflects the Obama administration's stance over the territorial row between its ally and China, is an effort to ease the escalating tension but can hardly change the US' Japan-tilt policy.
However, according to the report, the Diaoyu Islands fall under the scope of the 1960 US-Japan Security Treaty since 1972, which stipulates that the US is bound to protect "the territories under the administration of Japan".
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