China, Japan set up military hotline for 'maritime, air crises'

The Nation  |  Apr 01, 2023

China on Friday announced it has set up a direct military hotline with Japan to manage maritime and air issues.

“The two sides have recently completed the construction of a direct telephone line for the sea-air liaison mechanism, and will maintain communication on the arrangement for the launch,” China’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“The establishment of the direct telephone line will effectively enrich the communication channels between the defense departments of China and Japan, strengthen the capabilities of the two sides to manage and control maritime and air crises, and help further maintain regional peace and stability.”

Earlier on Friday, Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said he will undertake a two-day trip to China from Saturday.

Hayashi said he will meet his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang for discussions centered on a “stable and constructive Japan-China relationship.”

Beijing also confirmed the scheduled trip.

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Hayashi said the Japan-China relationship “has big potential, but we also face a large number of issues and concerns.”

“Under this situation, it is becoming increasingly important to establish constructive and stable relationship, in which what has to be asserted will be asserted … we ask for responsible conduct,” he told a news conference in Tokyo.

This will be the first trip by a Japanese foreign minister to China since December 2019 and the first in-person meeting of their top diplomats since November 2020.

Hayashi’s visit comes after China detained an employee of Japanese pharmaceutical firm Astellas Pharma in Beijing on suspicion of espionage earlier this month.

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