U.S.-Japan statement: Treaty covers Senkakus, will work on trade

TOKYO Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:33pm EDT

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TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States and Japan agreed in a joint statement on Friday that a key security treaty covers islands at the centre of a territorial dispute between Japan and China, and said they would continue working towards a bilateral trade deal after talks failed to reach a conclusion.

In the statement, issued shortly before U.S. President Barack Obama left Japan after a state visit, the two nations said they shared strong concern over China's air defense zone in the East China Sea but reaffirmed interest in building productive ties with Beijing.

Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had ordered their top aides to make a final push to reach a trade agreement but Economy Minister Akira Amari told reporters on Friday that gaps remained despite recent progress.

(This version of the story corrects the spelling of 'Senkakus' in headline.)

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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