China has stepped up patrols near disputed East China Sea islands controlled by Japan, prompting a maritime confrontation this week, but no use of force.
Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said Thursday that with the European slowdown and the U.S. just recovering, Northeast Asia serves as the cockpit of the global economy. He said: "It's incredibly important that both countries appreciate what they have built and step back from the brink."
Campbell described as "unhelpful" a retired Chinese diplomat's reported comments this week that U.S. policy in Asia was heightening China-Japan tensions. He said he doesn't believe that reflected Beijing's views.