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Japan, China discuss hotline to prevent accidental clashes around disputed islands

Japan's Ministry of Defense is pictured in Tokyo. (Mainichi/Kazuo Motohashi)

TOKYO -- Japanese and Chinese defense officials have held a video conference to discuss setting up a communications system to prevent accidental armed clashes between the two countries' forces, Japan's Defense Ministry announced on March 29.

    The conference was the third annual bilateral meeting of the defense officials, based on the "sea and air contact mechanism" to avoid unforeseen conflict between Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the Chinese military.

    At the meeting, Japanese officials expressed worries over provisions in China's sea security law on the use of armed force by China Coast Guard vessels, and stated, "We strongly oppose any actions that would raise tensions in the East China Sea, including waters around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture."

    The Senkaku Islands are controlled by Japan but claimed by China.

    Talks then focused on establishing a hotline between senior Japanese and Chinese defense officials, and the countries agreed to move to set it up as quickly as possible.

    The next bilateral defense meeting is scheduled for the end of 2021 or early 2022.

    (Japanese original by Shu Hatakeyama, Political News Department)

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