• Kyodo

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Japan expressed concern Monday at bilateral security talks with China on Chinese naval intelligence activities off the Japanese coast, saying they are not compatible with the spirit of friendship between the two countries.

Japan raised the issue at a one-day session of regular bilateral consultations on security issues held in Beijing between senior Foreign Ministry and defense officials, Japanese officials said.

According to Japanese officials, a Chinese spy ship cruised around Honshu in May. Japanese officials described the vessel as a 4,420-ton Yanbing-class icebreaker that doubles as a surveillance and research ship.

The Japanese delegation also filed a protest with the Chinese about the operation of Chinese maritime survey vessels in Japanese territorial waters and economic zones.

According to Japanese officials, Chinese survey ships were spotted within Japan’s exclusive economic zones 30 times last year and 10 times so far this year, operating in restricted waters without advance notification of the Japanese government.

Japanese officials said the Chinese intelligence gathering ship launched the round-Honshu trip from the Tsushima Strait. The vessel headed north in the Sea of Japan, crossed east through the Tsugaru Strait and sailed south down the Pacific.

Japanese officials said the Chinese side dismissed the Japanese concern, saying the vessel was on a “normal” operation.

The Chinese side also insisted its survey vessels were occasionally in waters where economic zone boundaries have yet to be determined between the two countries but never sailed inside Japanese-controlled waters, Japanese officials said.

Meanwhile, the Chinese side raised the issue of Japan’s military cooperation with the United States, Japanese officials said.

Miao Pengsheng, a departmental head with the General Staff of the People’s Liberal Army, cited an increase in the number of military maneuvers between U.S. and Japanese forces as well as Japan’s participation in the U.S. missile defense program.

Japan was represented in the talks by Kunihiko Makita, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Bureau, and Nobushige Takamizawa, head of the Defense Agency’s Defense Intelligence Division.

The Chinese delegation was led by Zhang Jiuhuan, director general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Department.

Kawara trip approved

BEIJING (Kyodo) Gen. Yuji Fujinawa, chairman of the Self-Defense Forces Joint Staff Council, met with senior Chinese military officials Monday and agreed on a visit to China by Defense Agency chief Tsutomu Kawara, Japanese officials said.

The officials said the date and other details of Kawara’s visit will be arranged later.

Kawara has made two previous visits to China since May 1998, when the two countries resumed exchanges of top defense officials after an 11-year hiatus.

Fujinawa, who arrived in Beijing earlier Monday for a weeklong visit, met separately with Gen. Zhang Wannian, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Gen. Fu Quanyou, chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberal Army.

Fujinawa and Fu last met in Tokyo in April when Fu made a weeklong trip to Japan.