China & Japan move toward diffusing tensions — Analysis
In case of territorial disputes escalating, both the Japanese-Chinese governments agree to create a Military Hotline.
Tokyo and Beijing plan to create a communications link to enhance ties. This comes as Japan continues a lengthy spat with Beijing over islands in East China Sea.
Speaking to reporters on Monday following a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe, Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the new line was now in the works, stressing the need for dialogue to smooth over outstanding disagreements.
“We confirmed that the early establishment of a hotline between Japanese and Chinese defense authorities is important,” Kishi said. “Since there are [unresolved] issues with China, we need to try to keep having candid communication so we can promote exchanges and foster mutual understanding and confidence.”
The communication channel is expected to go live sometime next year, with Japanese officials saying in a statement after Monday’s meeting that it would be set up “as soon as possible.”
China’s Defense Ministry, meanwhile, stressed that it would continue to “firmly safeguard [China’s] territorial sovereignty as well as maritime rights and interests,”The disputed Diaoyu Islands (also known as the Senkaku Islands) were the subject of the dispute. Wei suggested that both countries should “jointly manage and control risks”We must preserve the stability of the East China Sea.
The agreement, which is ostensibly aimed at reducing tensions in the region, comes just weeks after Japan staged military drills focused on a hypothetical Chinese invasion of the contested uninhabited islands. Kishi expressed his disapproval on Monday. “grave concern”Concerning the movements of Chinese coast guard vessels near Senkaku Islands
A close ally to Washington, Tokyo also signed onto an American proposal to jointly defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack earlier this month – a decision sure to enrage Beijing, which considers the island part of its own territory. Although China denied plans to invade Taiwan, the United States raised concerns about the possibility and some officials called on the United States to increase assistance for Taiwan.
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