BEIJING (AP) -- China rejected Tuesday a U.S. offer to broker three-way talks with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea, prompting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to reiterate the proposal.
Clinton's offer, first made last week, thrust the U.S. into a long-standing territorial disagreement that flared anew recently and has strained often uneasy relations between China and Japan, the world's second and third largest economies.
The dispute over the islands remains an issue for China and Japan alone to deal with, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement. While he did not mention Clinton by name, Ma particularly savaged her suggestion that the U.S. security treaty with Tokyo covers the islands - which China calls the Diaoyu and Japan the Senkaku.
"The U.S. side has repeatedly claimed that the U.S.-Japan security treaty applies to the Diaoyu islands. This is very wrong. The U.S. side should immediately correct this erroneous position," said Ma's statement, which was posted on the ministry's website