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US officials back Japan alliance

By ZHANG YUNBI  (China Daily)

08:55, October 23, 2012

Group has no 'mediation' role in island row

Former senior US officials briefed Tokyo on Monday on Washington's unchanged support for the US-Japan alliance amid the territorial row between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

The semiofficial US delegation, which included Stephen Hadley, former US national security adviser, and was endorsed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is scheduled to visit Beijing from Monday to Wednesday and meet senior Chinese officials.

The delegates will exchange views on China-US ties and key issues, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday that the group has no so-called function of mediation.

Observers said the veteran messengers' trip shows Washington's eagerness to prevent the islands dispute from spiraling out of control.

Compared with its prominent vow to improve relations between China and Japan, the delegation kept itself relatively inconspicuous after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Monday.

"The fact that we are here — two Republicans and two Democrats — is evidence that whatever the outcome of the presidential election, there is no disagreement among our Republicans or Democrats about the importance of the US-Japan relationship," Hadley told reporters, making no reference to the territorial dispute.

The US envoys entered into a detailed discussion with Noda about the relationship between the US and Japan and current conditions in East Asia, Japanese Foreign Ministry said on its website.

In a previous meeting, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba told the US delegation that Tokyo and Washington should communicate more about the "efficient functioning of the Japan-US alliance" to ensure the Asia-Pacific region remains peaceful and stable.

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