ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Politics

Japan and China move closer to maritime crisis hotline

Japanese defense minister sees no 'big barriers' to deal after Shanghai talks

Chinese and Japanese officials met Dec. 6 in Shanghai for high-level talks on maritime issues.   © Kyodo

SHANGHAI -- Japan and China reported progress Wednesday toward creating communication channels meant to prevent accidental maritime run-ins between their forces, with both countries aiming to conclude a deal next year.

Neither government elaborated on the headway made during high-level discussions here, but a source familiar with the talks cited mutual confirmation of their direction on key issues. The so-called maritime and air communication mechanism would include agreement on common radio frequencies to be used by ships and planes in an emergency.

Talks had bogged down as China opposed Japan's insistence on excluding territorial waters from the mechanism. But at Wednesday's meeting, officials confirmed they would not seek to demarcate the communication arrangements based on the extent of territorial waters, a source said.

Both sides will take the proposal back to their governments. Tokyo and Beijing seek to conclude an agreement in the first half of 2018. A formal signing could take place during a visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Japan or a trip to China by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Japan had worried that applying the communication arrangements to territorial waters could let Chinese warships abuse the system when sailing near the East China Sea's Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims and calls the Diaoyu. But Chinese ships already may enter Japanese waters under established international rules of naval conduct. Tokyo seems to have pivoted in favor of achieving results on crisis management and prevention as well as improving bilateral relations.

A communication mechanism has been proposed for several years. China began working toward a deal in earnest during the summer, sources say. Abe's calls for better Sino-Japanese relations and his repeated meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping may have prompted a change of heart in Beijing.

Japan wants to work toward concluding an agreement "at the earliest possible time," Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday. "I don't think that there are big barriers remaining," he added.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends June 30th

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media