Japanese and Chinese defense ministers agree to promote dialogue

Japanese Defense Minister Kihara Minoru has conveyed Tokyo's concerns about China's maritime activities in the East China Sea in his first meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Dong Jun, in Singapore on Saturday.

The two also agreed to maintain a hotline that was set up last year between their defense authorities, and to promote dialogue and exchanges.

Kihara opened the first defense ministerial meeting between the two countries in a year by saying many security concerns exist between them. He cited China's stepped-up military activity near Japanese territory and maritime activities in the East China Sea, including areas near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.

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

Kihara stressed the importance of continuing discussions between their respective defense authorities.

With sovereignty disputes between China and the Philippines in mind, Kihara also expressed concerns over the situation in the South China Sea, and emphasized the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Dong said the defense authorities of the two countries must do their best to implement policies and action that do not see each other as a threat, and that he wants to continue to communicate with Kihara.