Japan, China resume talks on maritime hotline
Tokyo: Japan and China resumed talkstoday about setting up a hotline to prevent sea clashes, following frequent sparring between ships from the two sides around disputed islands.
The working-level talks, the first since 2012, were held in Tokyo, Kyodo News and Tokyo Broadcasting System reported. The Japanese government has not disclosed a detailed schedule for the talks.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed last November to ease tensions over the sovereignty of the Senkaku islands, an uninhabited rocky chain in the East China Sea which China also claims as the Diaoyus.
The meeting — the first face-to-face encounter since each came to power — followed a long period of hostile relations due to the territorial dispute and China’s historical grievances over Japan’s 20th century aggression.
Japanese and Chinese defence authorities have agreed in principle to set up a hotline, and use a common radio frequency for their ships and planes around the disputed islands.
But further talks were suspended when relations soured in 2012 after Tokyo nationalised some of the Senkaku islands. Since then the islands have been the scene of regular confrontations between paramilitary vessels and jet fighters as both countries press their ownership claims.
Analysts have warned that a miscalculation could spark a military conflict that would draw in Japan’s ally the United States.