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  • Jul 24, 2014
  • Updated: 7:39am
NewsChina

Japan suggests hotline to Beijing over island spat

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 February, 2013, 3:26pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 February, 2013, 6:23pm

Japan has suggested setting up a military hotline with China to avoid clashes between the two countries, which are at loggerheads over a group of disputed islands, Tokyo’s defence minister said on Saturday.

The proposal came after Tokyo accused a Chinese frigate of locking its weapons-tracking radar on a Japanese destroyer - a claim Beijing has denied.

The incident, which Japan said happened last week, marked the first time the two nations’ navies have locked horns in a territorial dispute that provoked fears of armed conflict breaking out between the two.

The neighbours - also the world’s second and third-largest economies - have seen ties sour over the uninhabited Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Tokyo and Diaoyu by Beijing, which also claims them.

“What’s important is to create a hotline, so that we would be able to communicate swiftly when this kind of incident happens,” Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters.

He said Tokyo told Beijing on Thursday through its embassy in China that it wants to resume talks on creating a “seaborne communication mechanism” between military officials of both countries.

In 2010 China and Japan agreed to establish a hotline between political leaders following a series of naval incidents, but the plan has yet to materialise.

Defence officials of the two countries also agreed in 2011 to set up a military-to-military hotline by the end of last year, but the talks stalled due to heightened tensions over the territorial row.

Onodera also said Japan was considering disclosing evidence to bolster its accusation of the lock-on incident, after Beijing rejected the charge.

“We have evidence. The government is considering the extent of what can be disclosed”, because it includes confidential information on Japan’s defence capability, Onodera said.

The comments came after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe demanded Beijing apologise and admit the incident took place.

Tokyo has also charged that last month a Chinese frigate’s radar locked on to a Japanese helicopter, in a procedure known as “painting” that is a precursor to firing weaponry.

For both alleged incidents, on January 19 and January 30, China’s defence ministry said in a statement to AFP that the Chinese ship-board radar maintained normal operations and “fire-control radar was not used”.

Onodera said on Saturday that Japan could prove the frigate used a fire-control radar, instead of an early-warning radar that China insists was used as part of normal operations.

“An early-warning radar turns around repeatedly, while a fire-control radar keeps pointing to a moving ship that it targets at,” Onodera said.

“We have evidences that the radar followed after our ship for a certain period of time,” he said, adding that Japan recorded a radio frequency that is peculiar to a fire-control radar.

The long-running row over the islands intensified in September when Tokyo nationalised part of the chain, triggering fury in Beijing and huge anti-Japan demonstrations across China.

Beijing has repeatedly sent ships and aircraft near the islands and both sides have scrambled fighter jets, though there have been no clashes.

“Activities of Chinese official ships around Senkaku islands have calmed”, since Tuesday, when Japan disclosed the radar incident, Onodera said.

Abe, the hawkish Japanese premier, on Thursday called the incident “extremely regrettable”, “dangerous” and “provocative”, but also said dialogue must remain an option.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

Prof.Sencha
@jamesobh...well said. We should forgive but not forget which nation started World War II in Asia ? Which nation had tried to invade distant nation to the extent of bombing Darwin and sending submarines into Sydney harbour. If it was not due to the two atomic bombs ...it isn't surprising if all of asia will be living under the Japanese Imperial Army today.
I am sad that many forget history so readily.
gabyleung
I respect your point of view on "forgive but not forget", but you gentlemen's have forgotten that the japanese who have started the war are all probably dead by now. And karma has had its turn with the Japanese <Nagasaki & Hiroshima>. You are blaming these people for what their parents have done. On the other hand China is a communistic society, it is seen as a threat to many countries. If China somehow obtains the Senkaku/Diaoyu island, it would only allow China to have an advantage <militarily or economically>. You cannot bare a grudge against a nation whose ancestors have slaughtered yours. It is like blaming a child who's dad killed yours.
maecheung
"You cannot bare a grudge against a nation whose ancestors have slaughtered yours. " True, but this generation of Japanese voted in Abe who tries to deny and ignore the atrocity done to our ancestors!
"China is a communistic society, it is seen as a threat to many countries." Why would communism be a threat? Is Capitalism a threat too? What about Socialism then? We all have different views, and should respect each others views even if it is different than ours, ans should not view it as a threat. Threat breeds Confrontation, and War!
mercedes2233
I agree with your points but don't know where your reference to forgiving and forgetting come from, certainly not from jamesobh. I for one do not forgive or forget. The recent disasters in Japan struck a different generation of Japanese, but the generations of Chinese butchered by Japanese were just as innocent. I certainly wish there is karma but don't think so.
daily
Good point, but I believe in Karma too..................for all the awful things that Japan has caused onto China and other Asian territories, they deserve the worse coming..........look at all the year's of deflation they've had and the ongoing earthquakes and tsunamis............Karma, fellas.............Japan is gonna keep getting these things come to them until they face up to their past crimes.
caractacus
Japan is not the one behaving like a gangster here. If China is so sure of the legitimacy of its claim to the islands, then a referral to international arbitration, not the use of force, is appropriate. If China is found to be in the right, the islands should be returned to China.
The present practical problem is the apparent indiscipline of China's military and the lack of any moderating political control over its foreign relations. China is muscling in on the whole of the South China Sea and to a lesser extent on land - one clear example being its encroachment over Bhutan's Northern land border in the last few years. So much for "peaceful" growth.
If the Chinese government does not stop behaving like a spoiled, bullying child and continues to exhibit the same racist arrogance as its Ching dynasty predecessor, it will find itself in a military and / or economic conflict against Japan and its allies which in the long term will cost China far more dearly than it will Japan. The economies of the West will withdraw their investment from China and cease buying its exports. Then where will China be?
And by the way, it's time to grow up and get over WWII. Many countries suffered badly at the hands of Japan's imperial armed forces, but the blame for that should not be laid at the door of today's people who took no part in it.
mercedes2233
"The economies of the West will withdraw their investment from China and cease buying its exports. Then where will China be?" If China disposes of its massive holding of US dollar bonds, where will the US be? If China doesn't buy Australian mineral resources, where will Australia be? If China tourists don't travel to western countries, where will their retail and hospitality industries be? If western countries cease buying Chinese goods, their peoples will end up with much more expensive products. Caractacus might review who depends on whom in today's world.
spikespiegel
time to grow up and get over WWII? tell it to americans... US military is in "active operations" in 156 countries worldwide since WWII, every year since 1945 for 68 yrs... continuously.... clearly, nobody grew up and got over... including Japan, US...
jamesobh
Japan has the audacity to ask China for an apology, just because it cannot accept China's explanation.
Japan should instead apologise to China for illegally purchasing Diaoyu Islands when told by China not to do so, and lying that there never was an agreement between the then leaders of China and Japan in 1972, to shelve the dispute over Senkaku/Diaoyu issue for future generations to solve; and intentionally falsifying the record of the dialogue between Prime Minister Tanaka Kakue and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai on September on the 27th and 28th, 1972 (read the article at ****www.forbes.com/sites/stephenharner/2012/10/03/interview-with-professor-yabuki-on-the-senkakudiaoyu-crisis-and-u-s-china-japan-relations/).
Nicholas Kristof, a highly respected commentator, wrote: "I find the evidence for Chinese sovereignty quite compelling. The most interesting evidence is emerging from old Japanese government documents and suggests that Japan in effect stole the islands from China in 1895 as booty of war" (read the article at ****www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/all-the-way-with-the-usa-20130207-2e19q.html#ixzz2KNSNxynQ).
In addition, Japan had ignored two WW II treaties, requiring it to return Chinese territories, stolen or taken by violence, to China. That makes Japan, a thief. And adding insult to injury, Japan is now acting like a gangster, in enforcing control over Diaoyu Islands, when it has no legitimate authority, whatsoever.
mercedes2233
Agree. Thank you for the quoted information.

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