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International relations

Pentagon corrects statement on Senkakus: 'No change in policy'

Spokesman's words on Japanese sovereignty had been read as a shift in position

U.S. Department of Defense press secretary John Kirby speaks in a media briefing at the Pentagon on Feb. 17. The former Navy rear admiral had sent ripple waves through Asia when he said Feb. 23 that Washington supports Japanese "sovereignty" over the Senkaku Islands.   © AP

NEW YORK -- When Pentagon press secretary John Kirby used the word "sovereignty" on Tuesday in response to a question on the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands, which China claims and calls the Diaoyu, foreign policy and defense analysts in Tokyo responded with surprise and excitement.

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