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Japan and China both claim these islands as their own. Now the US is showing Tokyo how it can help defend them

Original Story by: Brad Lendon, CNN

Tens of thousands of US and Japanese troops will begin a massive island-landing exercise in the Pacific this week as part of joint military operations seen as a warning to China that Washington backs Tokyo over Beijing’s claim to Japanese-controlled islands.

Speaking aboard a Japanese warship Monday, Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider, commander of US Forces Japan, said the exercises would demonstrate the ability of the US-Japan alliance “to deliver combat troops to defend the Senkakus or respond to other crises or contingencies.”

Both Tokyo and Beijing claim the Senkaku Islands, known as the Diaoyus in China, as their own, but Japan has administered them since 1972.

Tensions over the uninhabited rocky chain, 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) southwest of Tokyo, have simmered for years, and with claims over them dating back centuries, neither Japan nor China is likely to back down.

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