Japan voices concerns over China’s increasing military activities

Nov 11 , 2021. 9 hours ago – 00:33 KYODO NEWS

File photo shows the Senkaku Islands in June 2011. (Kyodo)

TOKYO – A senior Japanese diplomat on Wednesday expressed concerns over China’s “increasing military activities” and called for self-restraint on Beijing’s part in a virtual meeting with his Chinese counterpart, the Japanese government said.

Takehiro Funakoshi, head of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau at Japan’s Foreign Ministry, raised issues including repeated entry into Japanese waters by Chinese vessels near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea administered by Japan but claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu, according to the Japanese ministry.

Hong Liang, director general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, asked Japan not to take any action that could “complicate the situation,” according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

It was the first talks between the two senior officials since Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida took office about a month ago. They last spoke in June.

In the videoconference, Funakoshi and Hong agreed to continue to communicate for a “constructive and sustainable” bilateral relationship, the Japanese ministry said.

Both sides also agreed to make efforts toward the early creation of an emergency hot line between Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to avoid contingencies.

The proposal to hold the videoconference came from Beijing in late September, when Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party was holding a leadership race to pick a successor to then Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who resigned after just over a year in office amid criticism of his pandemic response, according to diplomatic sources.