Washington opposes coercive China action in island dispute

TOKYO (AP) - The United States is committed to defending Japan and opposes any coercive action by China to seize territory under Japanese control in the East China Sea.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday the US was not taking a position in the dispute over the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Japan and China have sparred over the uninhabited islands in recent years.

Mr Kerry's strong words of support for Japan come just a day after he promised new levels of US-Chinese cooperation on a host of problems, most notably North Korea's nuclear programme.