Japan and US officials have signed a landmark agreement to resolve a standoff over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute.

Key points:Japan and the United States signed the agreement at the White House in WashingtonDismissing suggestions the two countries are now close to a deal, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the US and Japan would keep their focus on the situation in the disputed waters of the East China SeaThe move comes after Beijing and Washington clashed over a series of recent moves by the Japanese and US governments in the East and South China seasThe agreement follows the signing of a deal earlier this month between the two nations to end a standoff in the South China Sea.

The deal was reached in the presence of the US president, Joe Biden, US vice president Joe Biden (left), and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.(Reuters)Ahead of the signing, a US defense official said the two leaders agreed to end the two-year stalemate in the region and resume negotiations.

“We also signed an agreement on a number of important areas including the Diaoyus and Senkaks, including the peaceful use of artificial islands, and the demilitarisation of the Diaoys,” the official said, without providing details.

The official added the two sides would continue to pursue their shared interests, and would keep the focus on maritime security in the area.US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera, US Vice President Joe Biden and Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the White Houses on Tuesday.

They said in a joint statement:”We welcome the decision of the leaders of the United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia to recognize the Diaofu and Senku Islands as Japanese territory and to establish diplomatic relations.”‘

Significant milestone’The deal follows a number, which included:China calling for an end to the “inherent hostility” between the nationsThe signing of the deal came after China’s foreign ministry said the islands are part of its territory, and Beijing also called for an international court to hold Japan responsible for the incident.

A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

The United States has repeatedly said the Diaobu and the Senkak are in Chinese territory, though Beijing has denied that.

Australia, which has a territorial dispute with Beijing over the Spratly Islands, has repeatedly condemned China’s claim, calling it “a brazen violation of international law”.

The islands have been in dispute for decades, with many people living on them but the two governments have had differing views on how to resolve the issue.

The islands are also close to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province and has repeatedly called for the two to be removed from the region.

China also says it has the right to claim the islands as a natural resource, although the islands themselves are not inhabited.

The two nations are not at war, but their militaries have been at odds over territorial disputes and territorial disputes have led to a series by the US.

In 2016, the US imposed an oil-rig blockade on the islands, which were then re-claimed by Japan.

The US, which is in the process of reopening its military base at Subic Bay in the Philippines, has warned that it will not allow the islands to be used for military purposes.

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