Chinese, Japanese defense chiefs talk through maritime and air liaison mechanism direct phone line for 1st time
Published: May 16, 2023 09:23 PM
China Japan Photo: VCG

China Japan Photo: VCG

Chinese and Japanese defense chiefs on Tuesday talked through the newly established maritime and air liaison mechanism direct phone line for the first time.

Analysts said that the move will help maintain regional stability and avoid crisis at a time when Japan has recently made provocative remarks over the Taiwan question and a powerful flotilla of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy was spotted sailing around Japan.

Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu and Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada on Tuesday afternoon talked through the direct telephone line dedicated to the maritime and air liaison mechanism between the Chinese and Japanese defense ministries for the first time, the Chinese Defense Ministry said in a press release on the day.

The defense chiefs exchanged views on relations between the two countries and bilateral defense ties, according to the press release.

The establishment and the launch of the direct phone line is a practical measure to implement the important consensus reached by the two countries' leaders, and will effectively enrich the communication channels between the two countries' defense departments, enhance the two sides' capabilities in managing maritime and air crisis, and is a positive move to further safeguard regional peace and stability, the press release reads.

China announced the establishment of the direct phone line on March 31. It took more than a decade because of Japanese politicians' so-called purchase of the Diaoyu Islands and their intention to "nationalize" them, as well as other unfavorable political and technical factors from Japan.

Bilateral relations between China and Japan still face challenges today, as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida claimed in an interview with Nikkei Asia published last week that the Taiwan question is a matter of importance not just to Japan but to the entire world.

Amid the provocative remarks, the Japanese Defense Ministry said on Thursday that Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force has spotted a PLA Navy flotilla led by a Type 055 large destroyer since April 30 while it was seemingly making a clockwise circumnavigation around Japan, with Chinese experts saying the move showed that China has sufficient capabilities to counter Japan's provocations.

The latest talk between the two countries' defense chiefs and the use of the direct phone line can be viewed as a positive signal, as it shows the two countries are willing to work to manage differences, maintain stability and avoid crisis amid tensions, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Tuesday.