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Japan, US Drafting Plan to Defend Disputed Islands

In this photo released by Japan Coast Guard, a Chinese fisheries patrol boat sails near disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012.
Japan and the United States will draft a plan to counter any Chinese military action to seize disputed islands in the East China Sea.

A U.S. defense official in Washington told VOA Wednesday that Japan's General Shigeru Iwasaki, the chief of staff of the Japanese Self Defense Forces Joint Staff, is meeting in Hawaii this week with the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, to discuss a plan to retake the islands, should China invade.

Locator map of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands
Locator map of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands
At the Pentagon, Lieutenant Colonel Cathy Wilkinson confirmed only that the two are meeting in Hawaii for "regular alliance consultations." She added that the Defense Department does not discuss its military planning efforts and encourages China and Japan to resolve the dispute over the islands "through peaceful means."

China's General Liu Yuan said last week that "if there is any alternative" to war to solve the dispute, then there is "no need to resort to the means of extreme violence for a solution."

China and Japan have a long-running dispute over the tiny, uninhabited islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. Both countries claim the islands, which Japan controls. They are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and possibly by energy deposits.

Chinese-Japanese ties sank to their lowest level in years last September, after Japan bought some of the islands from their private Japanese landowner. The move sparked days of angry protests in China. It also damaged trade ties between Asia's two largest economies.