U.S. team to help defuse isle dispute

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. government will send a group of former national security officials to Japan and China next week to encourage Tokyo and Beijing to mend diplomatic ties frayed by a territorial dispute, sources said.

The U.S. team, including former Deputy Secretary Of State Richard Armitage, will visit Japan on Monday and Tuesday and meet with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to promote closer communication between the two sides toward resolving the row over the Senkakus, the Japanese-administered islands in the East China Sea claimed by China, they said. The islands are known as Diaoyu in China and as Tiaoyutai in Taiwan.

The group, though not in an official capacity, will then visit Beijing to hold talks with Chinese officials including Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Dai Bingguo, the sources said.

Along with Armitage, Washington is also sending James Steinberg, former deputy secretary of state in President Barack Obama’s administration, Joseph Nye, a former Pentagon official, and Stephen Hadley, who served as national security adviser to George W. Bush, the sources said.



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