Japan and China must resolve their differences in the interest of regional stability, the U.S. ambassador to Tokyo said Wednesday, adding that Washington's role as a mediator was limited.
Despite growing trade between the economic powerhouses, diplomatic relations between China and Japan have sunk to their lowest in decades amid a series of territorial disputes and disagreements over interpretations of wartime history.
Relations plunged again last month when Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited a controversial Tokyo war shrine for the fifth time since taking office in 2001, prompting protests from China and South Korea and complicating diplomatic relations.
Also hobbling relations is a dispute over undersea gas deposits, ownership of islets in the East China Sea and Japan's adoption of textbooks that critics say whitewash World War II atrocities.
The grievances all helped trigger anti-Japanese riots in China earlier this year. Last week, China's ambassador to Tokyo called the visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine the most pressing issue facing their countries and said the issue needs to be resolved as quickly as possible, AP reports.