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Agreement with US deters clash with China over isles: Japan

WASHINGTON/TOKYO -- Japan said Thursday its security alliance with the U.S. is an important deterrent against conflict breaking out between China and Japan over disputed islands.

Tensions between the Asian powers have spiked since Japan last month nationalized some of the tiny islands in waters between them. Japan's ambassador to Washington, Ichiro Fujisaki, said that he trusts the leaders of China and Japan will avoid a war.

Fujisaki said the issue should be dealt with calmly and without resorting to force or coercion, or allowing nationalist sentiment to get out of control.

“It's important that we should not make an emotional issue out of this. We should calmly discuss where we can on these issues and always should respect law,” the ambassador told the Brookings Institution think tank. He reiterated Japan's stance that the sovereignty of the island is not in dispute.

The dispute over the uninhabited islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, set off violent protests in China that targeted Japanese-owned businesses.

FM Vows Continued Dialogue with China

On the sidelines of the IMF World Bank Meeting in Tokyo, Japan's foreign minister Friday vowed continued dialogue with China over a blistering territorial dispute, but warned there were limits on how far Japan would go to compromise.

Koichiro Gemba welcomed the meeting of senior officials from the Japanese and Chinese foreign ministries in Tokyo on Thursday, at which the two agreed a vice ministerial-level meeting should be held.

But, Gemba added: “It's not easy. The important thing is that we cannot give over what we cannot give over.”

“Relations between Japan and China have a very big impact on not only peace and security in East Asia but also the entire global economy,” said Gemba, who will visit Britain, France and Germany from Oct. 15 to Oct. 20.

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