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Japan, China in war of words over airspace

FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 file photo, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's P-3C Orion surveillance plane flies over the disputed islands in the East China Sea, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. China's new maritime air defense zone is unenforceable and dangerous, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 in a continuing war of words over air space that includes the area above islands claimed by both. Abe told a parliamentary session that China's declaration of an air defense identification zone alters the state of affairs in the East China Sea and escalates a tense situation. (AP Photo/Kyodo News, File) JAPAN OUT

Disputed islands between China and Japan


The United States pledged support for ally Japan on Wednesday in a growing dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea and senior U.S. administration officials accused Beijing of behavior that had unsettled its neighbors.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel assured his Japanese counterpart in a phone call that the two nations' defense pact covered the small islands where China established a new airspace defense zone last week and commended Tokyo "for exercising appropriate restraint," a Pentagon spokesman said. (REUTERS)

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