China and Japan discuss maritime issues

Senior foreign ministry officials of Japan and China have held a video conference to discuss bilateral maritime issues.

The head of Japan's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Funakoshi Takehiro, talked for two hours on Thursday via video with China's representative Hong Liang, who is Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs.

Funakoshi reiterated Japan's concerns about China's recent activities in the East China Sea.

He pointed out that as of Thursday, China's Coast Guard ships had sailed through an area known as a contiguous zone just outside Japan's territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands for a record 111th consecutive day. He urged China to refrain from conducting these activities.

Japan controls the islands. The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. China and Taiwan claim them.

Funakoshi also explained Japan's position regarding its planned release of treated water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea. Japan's government says the water including radioactive tritium will be diluted before discharge to lower concentration levels below those stipulated under the national regulations.

Funakoshi expressed concerns about some of China's information dissemination regarding the matter. He referred to the social media posting of an illustration by a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson mocking Japan's planned release of the treated water.

The officials reaffirmed that the two countries will accelerate efforts to set up a hotline communication link between their defense officials to prevent an accidental clash between Japan's Self-Defense Forces and China's military forces.