Japan envoy urges calm amid tensions with China

WASHINGTON (AP) — Japan's ambassador has called for improved relations with China as the top U.S. intelligence official warned that territorial disputes and nationalist fervor are increasing the risk of conflict in East Asia.

Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae said Wednesday people are afraid of the consequences of a deteriorating relationship between the two Asian powers, and appealed for a calming of "agitated remarks" from both sides.

Sasae told a Washington think tank constructive dialogue was needed.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Intelligence Committee that China will probably continue a "hardline stance" toward Japan over unoccupied islands that are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China.

He said sovereignty concerns and historical resentments will generate fiction and "occasional incidents" between claimants in the East and South China Sea.

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