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China-Japan hotline shelved

By Ling Yuhuan  (Global Times)

08:48, October 22, 2012

Japanese media on Sunday accused China of shelving a maritime defense communication mechanism between the defense authorities of the two countries, but analysts said Japan was responsible for the plan's suspension.

The mechanism, which was scheduled to be established by the end of this year to reduce accidental clashes, will be put aside, reported the Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday, citing anonymous sources.

The sources said the plan was called off because China does not seem willing to continue the talks, probably due to Japan's decision to "nationalize" the Diaoyu Islands.

The envisaged mechanism, reportedly reached in a meeting in June, includes setting up information hotlines between the defense leaders of the two countries and establishing a common radio frequency when the two sides' vessels or aircraft are approaching each other, according to the report.

The project would also have included plans for an annual meeting of the two nation's defense authorities.

Li Jie, a researcher at the Chinese Naval Research Institute, told the Global Times that he believed China shelved the project to exert pressure on Japan.

"It is possible that Japan is feeling perplexed by now as its attempt to win support from France, Britain and Germany over the Diaoyu Islands has come to a dead end," Li said. "Japan brought up the defense hotline project at this moment to see China's reaction."

Xu Guangyu, a senior consultant with the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said that such hotlines could effectively reduce military clashes, adding that similar mechanisms had already been established between China and the US, South Korea and Russia.

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