Beijing, 22 December 2021 (TDI): Japan and China reached a consensus to adequately address maritime differences and contradictions. The two agreed to resolutely safeguard maritime stability and security along with making the East China Sea a sea of friendship, cooperation, and peace.

The agreement was reached during the 13th round of high-level consultations on maritime affairs between the Chinese and Japanese officials. It was held via video link on Monday.

Stance of China on South China Sea, East China Sea & Taiwan Strait

It was co-hosted by the Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Foreign Ministry of China, Hong Liang, and the Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Takehiro Funakoshi.

China Japan
13th round of high-level consultations on maritime affairs between the Chinese and Japanese officials

The Chinese officials reiterated the stance of China on the Diaoyu Islands and other issues. They urged the Japanese side to respect the territorial sovereignty of China as well as its maritime rights and interests. Also, they stressed that Japan should cease activities that complicate the situation.

In addition, China’s dissatisfaction was also conveyed during the meeting regarding the negative actions of Japan in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Such actions affect maritime and air security, it was pointed out by the Chinese representatives.

Whilst discussing the issues, Japan’s wrong words and deeds on the Taiwan Strait and their negative implications were also highlighted. The Chinese side firmly opposed the intervention of external forces in the Taiwan Strait. They advised Japan to be careful in actions and words so as to avoid impacting regional stability and peace.

Consensus reached to build China-Japan relationship

The two sides agreed to concentrate on building a China-Japan relationship that meets the prerequisites for the new era. Moreover, they will endeavor to comprehensively implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries as well as the four-point principled consensus.

They agreed to recognize the positive progress in ascertaining the direct telephone line connection under the defense sector’s maritime and air liaison mechanism along with confirming that appropriate technical agreements will be signed.

In addition, China and Japan will aim to open the line at an early date. It was also decided to continue defense exchanges between the two countries, during the meeting.

Secondly, China and Japan will continue the collaboration between the Chinese and Japanese Coast Guard to combat maritime crimes and promote exchanges between law enforcement agencies.

Furthermore, the two will support exchanges between the Japan Coast Guard Academy and the China Coast Guard Academy.

Maritime Collaboration

Thirdly, China and Japan will carry out joint maritime search and rescue operations between the Japan Coast Guard and the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center under the framework of the China-Japan Maritime Search and Rescue Agreement to jointly safeguard maritime navigation safety and enhance local cooperation.

Fourthly, the two parties agreed to speak favorably of the outcomes of the exchanges on marine environmental protection. They agreed to draw on the forthcoming third China-Japan Experts Dialogue Platform Meeting on Marine Debris Cooperation as well as the China-Japan Marine Debris Seminar to boost collaboration on marine plastic waste.

Fifthly, China and Japan will continue to collaborate in conserving fishery resources and fighting illegal fishing in the North Pacific. Both sides consented to pursue solutions to the issues existing in the fishery field via consultations and negotiations, to completely implement the China-Japan Fisheries Agreement.

Sixthly, the two sides will endeavor to strengthen personnel exchanges between maritime departments of both sides to enhance mutual trust. They also exchanged views on bolstering cooperation in technical exchanges and marine scientific research to develop the blue economy.

Fukushima Nuclear-contaminated Water

China also expressed grave concern over, as well as opposition to Japan’s plan of discharging nuclear-contaminated water into the sea. China urged Japan to handle the issue, prudently.

The meeting was attended by officials from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Agriculture, and Rural Affairs, and China Coast Guard.

From the Japanese side officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, Cabinet Secretariat, Fishery Agency, Ministry of Environment, Japan Coast Guard, and Ministry of Defense also attended the meeting.

The two sides also agreed to hold the 14th round of high-level consultations on maritime affairs in the first half of 2022.