China and Japan Defense Ministers hold frank talks on Tokyo’s request
Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi
Modern Tokyo Times
The Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi held frank talks with the Minister of National Defense from China. Wei Fenghe, the Minister of National Defense, is a general in the People’s Liberation Army.
Kishi hails from a traditional Japanese political family. Hence, being the brother of the former double prime minister, Shinzo Abe, China understands the nationalist leanings in both individuals. However, the conversation between Kishi – and his counterpart – was aimed at opening stronger diplomatic channels.
Japan is concerned that China seeks to alter the status quo in the environs of the Senkaku Islands. China calls the area Diaoyu Islands and Taiwan names them the Diaoyutai Islands. Hence, despite frayed relations between China and Taiwan, they both claim the region.
NHK reports, “Japan controls the islands. The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan’s territory. China and Taiwan claim them.”
Political elites in Tokyo requested the talks between China and Japan. Thus this is a positive sign even if the talks were frank.
Kishi also expressed his dismay, via the video call, about China’s usage of government and military vessels to alter the status quo – and to intimidate. Hence, Japan requests that China adopts self-restraint.
Lee Jay Walker says, “China’s increasing military expenditure, the Taiwan Strait, and other important issues were discussed by Kishi and Wei Fenghe. However, China’s military spending can’t be negated from America’s military budget and the containment policies of Washington.”
On a positive note, Kishi expressed the need to build mutual understanding and confidence concerning sensitive issues.
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