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Militaries agree to enhance trust
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08:32, April 01, 2008

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After more than two hours of closed-door meetings in Beijing yesterday, Chinese and Japanese military leaders reached consensus on a range of key issues, including bilateral military exchanges and Taiwan.

The Chinese side presented its line and concerns on the Taiwan question, while the Japanese side made explanations and reiterated Tokyo's policy on the question, Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), said.

Ma co-chaired the eighth China-Japan Consultation on Defense and Security with visiting Japanese vice-defense minister Kohei Masuda yesterday morning.

"Both sides expressed concerns over the peace and stability of the Taiwan region and demonstrated the attention they will give to the situation within the coming month," Ma told reporters after the talks.

In an interview with United Press International published in February, Masuda hinted the crisis in the Taiwan Straits could be regarded as "a situation in areas surrounding Japan" - a definition that could seem to legitimize Japanese military action in the region.

The Xinhua News Agency quoted Masuda as saying after yesterday's talks that he exchanged views with the Chinese side "frankly", and China gave "very detailed explanations" of Japanese concerns. He also said he hoped the two sides will continue exchanges and enhance mutual trust.

The two sides also agreed to continue high-level military-to-military exchanges and start expert consultation next month on a maritime liaison mechanism between the two militaries.

Jin Xide, a Japanese studies scholar with the Chinese academy of social sciences, said the maritime communication mechanism is key to diffusing potential tension between the two countries.

"With the two sides' continuous oceanic development and disputes over relevant issues, such as the East China Sea problem, China and Japan are in urgent need of such a mechanism to build mutual trust, keep instant communication and prevent accidents from escalating into military conflicts," Jin said.

Masuda also held talks with Defense Minister Liang Guanglie yesterday morning.

The series of consultations began in 1997, and is hosted by the two countries in turn. It has become a platform to promote trust in defense and security.

Source: China Daily

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