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Japan's commitment vital to success in maritime talks with China

A maritime crisis management mechanism is conducive to shielding the East China Sea from conflicts, but Japan has to abide by its agreement with China and refrain from further provocation to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Resuming high-level consultations on maritime affairs on Monday in Tokyo, defense authorities of the two countries are expected to discuss ways to avoid confrontation and reduce tension in the East China Sea.

China has been patient and has advocated dialogues and peaceful settlement of disputes with Japan, as any armed conflict between the two economic heavyweights will hurt the two peoples and the region as a whole.

During high-level consultations on maritime affairs held in Qingdao, China, last September, the two sides agreed in principle to resume maritime liaison between their defense agencies.

The meeting between defense officials this week is an encouraging sign and offers another opportunity for tension reduction.

Meanwhile, it is advisable that Tokyo sticks to the four-point principled agreement reached with Beijing last November, refrain from further provocation, and bring sincerity to the table so as to constructively address their differences and disputes.

Good faith from Japan is essential to the success of this week's meeting and to the prospects of such talks, given the fact that they had been disrupted thanks to Japan's irresponsible moves.

The mechanism of high-level consultations on maritime affairs between the two countries was launched in 2012. After several rounds of successful talks, the talks were suspended after the Japanese government's so-called "nationalization" of China's Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea in September 2012.

As tension was built up, Japan took a hardline position and sent its warplanes to interfere with China's regular operations, posing grave threats to both sides' safety and escalating tension in the East China Sea.

In June last year, two Japanese F-15 jets deliberately tailed a Chinese Tu-154 plane, coming as near as 30 meters as the Chinese plane conducted a routine patrol over the East China Sea.

The Japanese government's plan to amend the country's pacifist constitution and push for weapon exports, as well as its attempts to whitewash war atrocities in World War II have also sounded alarm to the region and the world.

There is still a long way to go to secure peace and stability in the region. The Shinzo Abe administration needs to abandon such dangerous moves above and start fostering favorable conditions for bilateral dialogue and for the improvement of relations with China, for the sake of the two peoples and the region at large.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 12Jan15]

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East China Sea Conflict
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