China and Japan prepare for another round of high-level talks on maritime affairs; results will likely be “very limited”

Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea Photo: Xinhua

China and Japan are expected to hold another round of high-level consultations on maritime affairs on Thursday, Japanese media reported on Saturday. However, Chinese experts believe that the results of the talks will be “very limited”, given Japan’s evasion of the historical facts of the Diaoyu Islands and its recent provocations to China.

It will be difficult for the two sides to reach a constructive consensus, but the smooth functioning of the dialogue mechanism is positive for the region, experts told the Global Times.

At the meeting, China will be represented by Hong Liang, director general of the Department of Boundary and Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while Japan will send the head of the Office of Asian and Oceanian Affairs of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Takehiro Funakoshi. Japan will file a protest against “development work and repeated intrusions by Chinese vessels into Japanese waters” around the Diaoyu Islands, according to Kyodo News.

The Diaoyu Islands issue is the biggest dispute between China and Japan in the East China Sea region and should be the focus of the upcoming talks, said Liu Jiangyong, vice dean of the Institute of International Relations. from Tsinghua University. Hours on Sunday.

The Diaoyu Islands have been an inherent territory of China since ancient times. However, “due to the propaganda of successive Japanese administrations on this issue, the Japanese people believe that the Diaoyu Islands are the territory of Japan,” Liu said. “So many Japanese believe that Chinese official ships operating near the Diaoyu Islands are interfering in Japan’s territorial waters. This misperception should not continue to exist.”

In November 2021, the two sides confirmed at a general manager-level meeting that they would adhere to the four-point principled consensus between China and Japan, strengthen dialogue and consultation on maritime affairs, and handle differences constructively.

However, more than six months after the meeting, the atmosphere of cooperation between the two sides for the joint development of the Diaoyu Islands, which had been previously agreed upon, has been completely destroyed by Japan, experts noted.

For China and Japan, the Diaoyu Islands issue is a historical issue that is difficult to resolve overnight. However, observers noted that establishing a rational, professional and stable dialogue mechanism between relevant Chinese and Japanese officials is positive for the region.

Some observers believe Tokyo has adopted the most vicious China policy since normalizing relations 50 years ago, as Japan continues to flirt with hot-button China issues such as the Taiwan issue, and reportedly intends to send an active-duty defense official to the island of Taiwan to enhance intelligence-gathering capabilities. Japan has also repeatedly lobbied China in international contexts over the Ukraine crisis.

And the United States, having consolidated its strategy of global checks and balances, has also used Japan as one of the most important pawns to contain China in Northeast Asia, Li Kaisheng, researcher and deputy director at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

“Given the situation, it will be difficult for China-Japan relations to return to a friendlier state in the near future,” Li said. principle to maintain basic stability. However, with the new initiatives of the United States under its “Indo-Pacific strategy”, the relationship is becoming increasingly unstable”.

This increases the difficulty of resolving the Diaoyu Islands issue and the risk of conflict, experts have warned. Japan should also stop provocations to avoid further angering China.

During a phone call with Japanese national security chief Takeo Akiba on June 7, Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Central Committee’s Foreign Affairs Commission Office of the CPC, said old problems in China-Japan relations are intertwined with new ones, and the challenges cannot be ignored if the two countries wish to have “healthy” relations.

Yang also said the two countries should work together to ensure “stable, healthy and resilient” relations over the next 50 years, and “jointly maintain regional peace and prosperity.”

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