BEIJING – Japan and China on Friday failed to make a breakthrough in their negotiations toward the early implementation of a maritime hotline, aimed at averting accidental clashes in the East China Sea.
After three days of discussions between senior officials of the two countries in Haikou, the provincial capital of southern China’s Hainan Province, the Japanese government, however, said both sides will continue their efforts toward its early establishment.
Both sides “essentially” agreed to hold the next round of talks in Japan in the first half of next year, according to the government.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to ease tensions stemming from a standoff over sovereignty of the Senkaku archipelago, a group of uninhabited small islands in the East China Sea.
But the two Asian powers have made little headway in setting up a maritime and aerial communication mechanism to prevent unexpected clashes in and above the sea.
China has been asserting its claim to the Japan-controlled Senkakus and continuously sending ships to patrol around them.
One of the major stumbling blocks in their efforts to implement the mechanism lies in how to treat territorial waters and airspace around the islands, which China calls the Diaoyus.
Japan has demanded that they not fall within the scope of the mechanism, while China has argued the opposite.
In addition to discussing how to create the mechanism, the high-level consultations, involving officials from multiple government agencies, addressed all kinds of maritime affairs, including those related to search and rescue operations, fisheries and development of resources.