Japan-China Defense Hotline Eyed for Spring

Yomiuri Shimbun file photos
Left: The Japanease national flag
Right: The Chinese national flag

Defense officials from Japan and China have agreed to accelerate efforts to launch a telephone “hotline” around this spring, to avoid accidental military clashes.

The decision was made at a Tuesday meeting in Tokyo that lasted for about 80 minutes. Officials in attendance included Atsushi Ando, deputy director general of the Defense Ministry’s Defense Policy Bureau, and Zhang Baoqun, deputy director of the Chinese defense ministry’s International Military Cooperation Office.

The hotline is a pillar of the “maritime and air liaison mechanism” that the two nations launched in June 2018 as an emergency communication system. It was also discussed at the Japan-China summit meeting last November.

Regarding the suspected intrusion of Chinese surveillance balloons into Japanese airspace, the Japan side on Tuesday told their Chinese counterparts that violations of its airspace were unacceptable and called for further incidents to be prevented.

Security talks were to be held Wednesday between Japan and China for the first time in four years, to discuss pending issues between the two countries.