Japan and China are set to hold a security dialogue on Feb. 1 in Beijing in a bid to narrow differences over defense issues, as their relations have been improving, according to bilateral sources close to the matter. The security dialogue between senior foreign affairs and defense officials of the two countries would be the first since October 2017, when a dialogue was held in Tokyo. Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeo Mori, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou and defense officials are slated to attend the dialogue, the sources said Wednesday. The planned discussion, aimed at deepening mutual trust between the two sides, comes as Chinese coast guard vessels continue to occasionally sail into waters around the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Discord over the uninhabited islands, which China calls the Diaoyu, has become more tense since 2012, when the Japanese government brought them under state control.
BEIJING – Japan and China have agreed to strengthen confidence-building measures in a security dialogue held for the first time in nearly two years. During the meeting in Beijing on Monday involving senior diplomats and defense officials, both sides explained each other's security policies and "frankly" discussed major challenges facing the region and the rest of the world, the Japanese government said. The government also said Japan asked China to make its security polices more transparent. The talks in Beijing took place as the two countries attempt to set up a maritime and aerial communication mechanism to prevent accidental clashes in and above the East China Sea, where China has been asserting its claim to the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to ease tensions stemming from a standoff over sovereignty of a group of tiny islands in the sea.
The Japanese and Chinese governments are considering holding a high-level economic dialogue, possibly in the spring, in China to discuss trade and investment issues, according to sources. Through the ministerial talks, they would aim to improve ties based on a "new era" of relations that they agreed to establish during a meeting in Beijing in October between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping. The sources said Sunday that China is hoping to promote ties with Japan amid its own trade friction with the United States. It would be the fifth such dialogue, with the last one having took place in Tokyo in April. In a meeting in October, Premier Li Keqiang told Abe that he hopes to achieve "win-win outcomes" by developing ties in a stable manner, especially through economic and trade cooperation.