Asia PacificPolitics

China, Japan Agree to Set Up Military Hotline to Avert Crisis

China and Japan have agreed to create an emergency military hotline to avert potential crises over the Taiwan Strait and disputed islands.

Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe agreed during a virtual meeting that the hotline would be set up by the end of 2022 to improve their maritime and aerial communication systems and prevent unintended clashes.

Although the Chinese minister did not directly mention the hotline, he explained the need to enhance communication between their respective defense ministries, strengthening high-level exchanges and practical cooperation.

In 2007, China and Japan agreed to launch a hotline to connect their armed forces. However, the nations failed to finalize the details of the deal.

China has a military hotline with the US to address crises, but Washington complained this year that calls often went unanswered. American experts believe that communication channels may have broken down due to tensions between the nations.

Long-Standing Territorial Dispute

The decision to set up a military hotline between China and Japan was made amidst their long-standing territorial dispute over a group of Japanese-controlled uninhabited islets referred to as the Diaoyu Islands by Beijing and the Senkaku Islands by Tokyo.

“On the issues of the East China Sea and Diaoyu Islands, China will stand firm in protecting its territorial sovereignty and interests at sea,” Wei stressed, as quoted by the South China Morning Post.

The defense minister added that both nations must jointly manage risks and prevent conflicts from escalating.

Kishi stated that the Japanese government was “extremely concerned” about the activities of several Chinese ships near the Senkaku islands and that Tokyo would continue to monitor the situation.

He added that since issues between Japan and China still exist, both countries need to maintain candid dialogues to encourage mutual understanding.

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