From The New York Times (link):
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held talks on Saturday with Japan and Australia to deepen a three-way regional alliance aimed in part at balancing the spreading presence of China.
At the same time, American officials said the United States was also looking at the meeting of top envoys of the three countries in Sydney, Australia, as a means to draw Japan into improving relations with neighboring countries still suspicious of its intentions 60 years after World War II.
Heading toward the end of what aides said would be one of the longest trips by a secretary of state, Ms. Rice joined with the foreign ministers Alexander Downer of Australia and Taro Aso of Japan in welcoming China’s “constructive engagement” in East Asia. Australian and American officials acknowledge, however, that the phrase understates the Chinese sphere of influence.