Japan, China agree on 'conflict communication mechanism' over East China Sea

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed to set up a hotline for defence officials to talk to each other during incidents involving each others' naval vessels or military aircraft.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed to set up a hotline for defence officials to talk to each other during incidents involving each others' naval vessels or military aircraft.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO - Japan and China agreed on Wednesday (May 9) to set up a "conflict communication mechanism", which includes a hotline, to prevent maritime and aerial incidents over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed a pact to set up within 30 days a hotline for senior defence officials to talk to each other during incidents involving each others' naval vessels or military aircraft.

The hotline will take effect on June 8, according to broadcaster NHK.

Besides the hotline, Wednesday's pact also provides for regular meetings between both nations' defence officials and a mechanism for their naval vessels to communicate at sea to avert maritime incidents.

Mr Abe also accepted Mr Li's invitation to visit China at a "mutually convenient time" in what would be his first official visit to China since he took office in December 2012.

Both countries are also setting up a new dialogue on public-private partnership on third-country infrastructure projects, including those on the Belt and Road Initiative.

Mr Abe said the first meeting of the dialogue will take place when he visits China.

 

Mr Li also announced that China would present Japan with a pair of endangered crested ibises. A pair had been gifted to Tokyo during the last summit talks between Mr Abe and then Chinese premier Wen Jiabao in 2007.

The bilateral agreements came after the two leaders and South Korea's president Moon Jae In held the countries' first trilateral meeting since 2015.