Japan and China to Hold Bilateral Security Dialogue in Tokyo
This week, Japan and China will hold their first bilateral security dialogue in four years, in an effort to ease tensions between the world’s second- and third-largest economies. The meeting will be held in Tokyo and is the first between the two nations since the formation of the new Japanese government led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in October 2021.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong and Japan’s Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Shigeo Yamada are both attending the talks, which will cover a wide range of topics, including China-Japan relations, defense and security policy, and international and regional issues. China has expressed deep alarm over Japan’s recent increase in defense spending and military capabilities, while Tokyo has criticized China’s military ties to Russia and its suspected use of surveillance balloons.
The talks come after Japan announced in December 2020 that it would double defense spending over the next five years to 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) — a total of $320 billion — in order to deter China from resorting to military action. In addition, Japan plans to acquire longer-range missiles that could strike mainland China and stock up on other munitions necessary to sustain a conflict alongside the large force from the US that Japan hosts.
Sun warned against Tokyo's “negative moves” with regard to Taiwan “in collusion with powers outside the region,” in an apparent reference to Japan’s intention to bolster security relations with its ally the United States. Yamada expressed “serious concern” about the flights of suspected Chinese surveillance balloons and elaborated on the country’s stance on the issue.
Japan is also planning to hold a defense ministerial meeting with Britain and Italy in Tokyo next month, in which their joint development plan of a next-generation fighter jet is expected to be discussed, as well as the possibility of exporting the new fighter jet to other countries.
The two countries have been at loggerheads for years over the sovereignty of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which Japan administers as the Senkakus, but which China claims as the Diaoyus. In 2012, the relationship between the two major Asian countries became strained as Japan's government created controversy by nationalizing some islands, which further angered China.
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