China, Japan Hold First Security Talks In Four Years

    China, Japan Hold First Security Talks In Four Years
    Last updated Feb 22, 2023
    Image credit: Pool [via Reuters]


    • China and Japan on Wednesday launched their first official bilateral security talks in four years in the Japanese capital Tokyo, in a bid to improve strained relations between the two Asian powers.[1]
    • Japan's Senior Deputy Foreign Minister Shigeo Yamada expressed concern about China's alleged use of spy balloons and increasing military activities, including suspected cooperation with Russia.[2]
    • He also referred to the territorial dispute between Japan and its largest trading partner over the uninhabited Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea and the need for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.[3]
    • His Chinese counterpart, Sun Weidong, warned Japan against "negative moves" allegedly coordinated with foreign powers regarding Taiwan, apparently pointing to Tokyo's newly revised policy documents vowing to deepen security ties with the US as Japan seeks to double defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2027.[4]
    • Weidong argued that the global security situation had experienced major changes and warned against a presumed return of a "Cold War mentality," unilateralism, and protectionism in international relations.[5]
    • Following the meeting, both countries stated they had agreed on establishing a direct line of communication for security issues, which would reportedly be operational by spring.[6]


    Pro-China narrative

    It's not China that threatens stability in the region, but Japan's military buildup to counter the alleged "Chinese threat" while demonstrating just how firm security ties with Washington supposedly are. By bowing to US hegemonic interests and shifting from a defensive posture to offensive deterrence against China, Japan is playing a dangerous game. Tokyo should instead embrace the talks to work with China toward peace and stability.

    Anti-China narrative

    With the December announcement of its new national security strategy, Japan proved that it's no longer willing to stand idly by and hide behind a naïve belief in its pacifist security stance amid China's military intimidation. Therefore, Tokyo has correctly decided to double its defense spending and expand its alliance with the US. Japan has identified China as the greatest challenge to its security and shouldn't fall for Beijing's tricks.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 2% chance that there will be a deadly clash between Japanese and Chinese armed forces before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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