The United States says it's committed to defending Japan and opposes any coercive action by China to seize territory under Japanese control in the East China Sea.

Secretary Of State John Kerry (L) and South Korean Foreign minister Yun Byung-Se (R) shake hands during a joint press conference (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. isn't taking a position in the dispute over the uninhabited islands that Japan and China have sparred over in recent years.

Kerry's strong words of support Sunday for America's ally come just a day after he promised new levels of U.S.-Chinese cooperation on a host of problems, most notably North Korea's nuclear program. In Japan, Kerry says Pyongyang would find willing partners by abiding by previous nuclear agreements.

Kerry met yesterday with Chinese leaders.

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