No rise in tension with China: Abe

 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Americans on Friday “I am back and so is Japan” and vowed to get the world’s third biggest economy growing again and to do more to bolster security and the rule of law in an Asia roiled by territorial disputes.

Abe had firm words for China in a policy speech to a top Washington think-tank, but also tempered his remarks by saying he had no desire to escalate a row over islets in the East China Sea that Tokyo controls and Beijing claims.

“No nation should make any miscalculation about firmness of our resolve. No one should ever doubt the robustness of the Japan-US  alliance,” he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “At the same time, I have absolutely no intention to climb up the escalation ladder,” Abe said in a speech in English.

After meeting Obama on his first trip to Washington since taking office in December in a rare comeback to Japan’s top job, he said he told Obama that Tokyo would handle the islands issue “in a calm manner.”

“We will continue to do so and we have always done so,” he said in the White House Oval Office. Tension surged in 2012, raising fears of an unintended military incident near the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

Washington says the islets fall under a United States-Japan security pact, but it is eager to avoid a clash in the region. Abe said he and Obama agreed to work together to maintain the freedom of the seas and creation of a region governed based not on force but an international law.

Abe, whose troubled first term ended after just one year when he abruptly quit in 2007, has vowed to revive Japan's economy with a mix of hyper-easy monetary policy, big spending, and structural reform.

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