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The dispute between Japan and China over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine hurts not only the nations’ bilateral ties but also the entire region by hindering regional cooperation, two American experts on China said Thursday.

The shrine visits, which also strain Japan’s ties with South Korea, are affecting the role the United States plays in Asia as well, and Washington apparently has been trying in private to use its influence to resolve the matter, according to Phillip Saunders and Ellen Frost, research fellows at the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies in Washington.

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