Japan, China Resume Defense Talks

Japan's defense chief on Wednesday met a top Chinese military official, resuming defense dialogue after a three-year break.

The talks are the latest bid by China and Japan to repair relations badly strained under Japan's former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, who stepped down in September.

Major General Zhang Qinsheng, assistant chief of general staff of the People's Liberation Army, paid a courtesy call on Defense Agency Director-General Fumio Kyuma.

It was the first meeting between a top Chinese defense official and a Japanese defense chief since September 2003.

Zhang also held working-level talks with his counterpart Takemasa Moriya, a Japanese defense official said.

The two shared their concerns over DPRK's missile and nuclear tests as a threat to the region, said the official, who attended the working-level meeting.

They also agreed to increase bilateral defense exchanges, to work toward building a Sino-Japan defense hotline and to achieve exchange visits by warships of the two nations, the official said.

"The meeting was honest, friendly and proactive in nature," Zhang said at the end of the talks, according to the Japanese official.

"It also looked to long-term issues and the meeting was strategic," Zhang said.

"After Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe took office in Japan, our relationship has improved," Zhang was quoted as saying.

Source: AFP

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