SINGAPORE (AP) — Japan, which is engulfed in a bitter territorial dispute with China, has told an annual security summit that it aims to play a cooperative role in regional maritime disputes.
The countries have been immersed in a long-running battle over what the Japanese call the Senkaku Islands and the Chinese call Diaoyutai. China recently asserted its dominance by sending government ships into the area in April.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told the meeting in Singapore Saturday that a "strong Japan will play a responsible role in the area of regional security and exercise strong leadership as expected by the international community."
Onodera praised the U.S. military presence in the region, calling it 'indispensable' and says both countries are working to increase Japan-U.S. cooperation.