Japan, China to enhance defense dialogue
Monday 28th June, 06:24 AM JST
Japan and China agreed Sunday to beef up dialogue between defense authorities to build mutual trust amid disputes such as those caused by recent Chinese military activities around Japanese waters, a Japanese official said.
In his first face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Prime Minister Naoto Kan also called for China’s cooperation in responding to the fatal sinking of a South Korean warship for which North Korea has been blamed.
‘‘I would like to send a clear message to North Korea at the U.N. Security Council and I want to ask for a forward-looking response from China,’’ Kan was quoted by the official as telling Hu.
Hu said the sinking of the naval vessel was ‘‘a very unhappy incident.’‘
But he told Kan that each country should respond calmly from a broader perspective on the matter, underlining the gap between the two countries’ position on the issue, according to the official.
China, one of the five veto-holding permanent members of the Security Council, remains reluctant to take tough action on Pyongyang as the two countries are strategic allies.
In the meeting held on the sidelines of a two-day Group of 20 summit in Toronto through Sunday, Hu said he wants to reinforce dialogue between the defense authorities, governments, parliaments and political parties of the two countries, in an attempt to enhance mutual trust.
Kan responded that he agreed with the idea and said he ‘‘would like to strengthen dialogue between defense authorities and build a trustful relationship,’’ the official said.
Touching on the stalled six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear programs, Kan noted it is important to settle the sinking of the 1,200-ton Cheonan in the Yellow Sea in March which killed 46 South Korean sailors.
On the economic front, Kan and Hu reaffirmed the need to launch formal negotiations on signing a bilateral treaty over gas exploitation in the East China Sea at an early date, the official said.
The dispute stems from the unsettled demarcation of the East China Sea, where the exclusive economic zones claimed by the two countries overlap.
Hu also indicated he will visit Japan when it hosts a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in November, the official said.
During the 45-minute talks, the two leaders also agreed to enhance strategic, mutually beneficial relations. They also agreed that Japan and China need to promote a ‘‘win-win’’ relationship through economic cooperation.
Kan and Hu also shared the view that the two countries should continue efforts toward the creation of an East Asian community.
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