February 9, 2017 / 6:24 PM / a year ago

Trump opposes undermining Japan's control of disputed islands - U.S. official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump would oppose any unilateral declarations that would undermine Japan’s administration of disputed islands in the East China Sea, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday ahead of Trump’s meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The official said in a conference call with reporters that any discussion about sovereignty of the islands was not expected to be addressed in the talks on Friday at the White House.

There have been long-standing tensions between China and Japan over what Japan considers their territorial waters in the East China Sea including islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

FILE PHOTO - 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. Mandatory credit. REUTERS/Kyodo/File Photo

The official said any discussion about allegations of currency manipulation on the part of Japan is not at the top of Trump’s list for the talks, but did not rule out the issue could come up informally.

After meeting in Washington, Abe and Trump were scheduled to travel to Palm Beach, Florida, to stay at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago retreat and play golf on Saturday.

The U.S. official said any discussion on Trump’s strategy toward North Korea’s nuclear programme is premature but urged Pyongyang not to take provocative actions. Any such actions would help inform Trump’s strategy, the official said.

As for a letter that Trump sent to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, the official said it included a message that Trump looks forward to discussing with Xi issues of mutual cooperation and “well-known differences.”

Reporting By Steve Holland; editing by Grant McCool

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