New York: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday urged Japan to pursue dialogue with China in a bid to resolve quickly a row over a Chinese trawler captain whom Japanese authorities detained near islands both countries claim, a US official said.
The official said Washington is also urging efforts to avoid an escalation in the crisis as Japanese media reported that Hillary told Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara in New York that the islands are covered by the Japan-US security treaty.
Under the 1960 treaty, the United States is obliged to defend Japan against any attack on a territory under Tokyo`s administration.
In meeting with Maehara, Hillary sought to "encourage dialogue and (voiced) hope that the issue can be resolved soon," her spokesman Philip Crowley said, adding Japan-China ties "are vitally important to regional stability”.
Maehara told the chief US diplomat that Tokyo is trying to resolve the row based on its legal process and international law, Crowley told reporters after the meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
"We are not mediating per se. We have not been asked to play a particular role," he said, adding this is an issue two "mature countries" like China and Japan are "fully capable of resolving”.
Nor did he expect the dispute to run out of control.
"Our sense is that neither side wants to see this situation escalate to the point that has long-term regional impact," Crowley said.
He added: "We continue to encourage both sides to do everything to resolve it and certainly not to escalate it."