Japan, China defense ministers might meet for 1st time since 2019

The Yomiuri Shimbun; Reuters
Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, left, and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe

Arrangements are being made for Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi to meet Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual Asian security conference to be held in Singapore from June 10-12, according to government sources.

If the meeting is realized this weekend, it would be the first in-person discussion between Japanese and Chinese defense ministers since December 2019 in Beijing.

Kishi and Wei would be expected to discuss the final details of a new hotline between the Self-Defense Forces and Chinese military officials to start operating by the end of this year. The two governments agreed in May 2018 to create the hotline to avoid accidental clashes in places such as around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, but its start has been delayed due to technical issues.

Kishi is also expected to raise concerns about China’s attempts to unilaterally change the status quo in the East and South China Seas, as well as the rising military pressure on Taiwan due to China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier.