Tokyo: Japan has sought US support for setting up a hot line "as soon as possible" between Tokyo and Beijing to avert an inadvertent clash between Japan's Self- Defence Forces and the Chinese military.
In a meeting with US Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus, Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera asked the United States to lobby China to set up a Japan-China maritime safety mechanism, Japanese officials said.
Japan has intensified its effort to create such a mechanism after a Chinese frigate directed weapons-targeting radar on a Japanese destroyer last month near a group of islets in the East China Sea at the heart of a bitter bilateral dispute, Kyodo news agency reported.
"Onodera stressed the need to create such a mechanism, eyeing specifically a hot line between defence authorities of the two Asian countries among other measures, as soon as possible," the report quoted officials as saying yesterday.
Mabus said he strongly expects Japan and China to deal with the radar incident in a restrained and moderate manner, the officials said.
The incident occurred near the Senkaku Islands, claimed by China which calls them Diaoyu. While the countries' claims conflicted for years, the bilateral relationship has become increasingly tense since Japan purchased part of the islands to bring them under state control last September.
Japan's coastguard today said a Chinese government ship briefly entered territorial waters off Japanese-controlled but disputed islands in the East China Sea.
The fishery patrol boat entered the 12-nautical mile zone off Kubajima, one of the Senkaku islands, the statement said.
Mabus said the United States is committed to fulfilling its Japan-US security treaty obligations concerning the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands, the officials said.
First Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013, 19:05