China media: US-Japan treaty

US President Barack Obama speaks to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo on 24 April 2014 Mr Obama is spending three days in Japan before flying to South Korea

US President Barack Obama's security assurance to Japan is the main theme in Chinese papers and websites on Thursday.

Mr Obama told Tokyo that a group of islands at the centre of its territorial dispute with Beijing fell under a security treaty that commits the US to act if Japan is attacked.

The disputed islands are called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Japan controls the islands but China has been strongly pressing its claim in recent months, flying and sailing vessels in and out of what Japan says are its waters and airspace.

Mr Obama said the US would oppose any attempt to undermine Japan's control over the islands, in written responses to a Japanese daily, the Yomiuri Shimbun.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency describes Mr Obama's response as "an apparent bid to pacify Japan" and asks the US president "to tread very carefully in his first stop" of his Asia tour.

"While playing up the usual hype about the US-Japan alliance, the US president should also send out a serious message to the Japanese rightists that the world's sole superpower will not be duped into pulling the chestnuts out of the fire for other countries," it suggests.

The Beijing Times criticises Japanese media outlets' enthusiasm about Mr Obama's visit.

"Japan looks as if it discovered a treasure once Mr Obama opened his golden mouth. The Yomiuri Shimbun printed five full pages to interpret and magnify his responses," notes the paper.

According to the daily's analysis, the Japanese paper "forced" Mr Obama to take a stand on the disputed islands in the interview.

"This is a 'yes or no' question. Mr Obama has to reply, unless he turns down the interview… Actually, the Yomiuri Shimbun ignored the fact that Mr Obama also emphasised the importance of the new model of a major power relationship with China," it says.

Experts tell the Southern Metropolis Daily that Mr Obama may have also come under pressure from anti-China lobbies in the US.

"Obama was probably pressurised by the hawkish viewpoints in the US… Washington has been worried that China has taken a harder stance on some issues, so it has to stress the importance of its defence alliance [in the region]," Yu Wanli, an expert on international relations from Beijing University, tells the paper.

Manila apology

Meanwhile, media praise Hong Kong and mainland leaders after the Philippines issued an apology over the 2010 Manila bus hijacking incident.

Seven Hong Kong tourists and a guide were shot dead by Rolando Mendoza, a disgruntled former policeman.

The families of the victims had demanded a formal apology and more compensation from Manila.

In a statement, the Philippines expressed "its most sorrowful regret" to the victims and their families.

Welcoming Manila's response, the Ta Kung Pao says Manila "finally took action" after facing pressure from the central government in Beijing.

"The central government had shown great concern and given strong support. Chairman Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang had even told Philippine President Benigno Aquino that the incident hurt the feelings of all Chinese people," it notes.

"These words carry a lot of weight. This is the main reason why the Philippines had to respond to the demands of the victims' families," it adds.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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