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China and Japan Hold 12th Round of High-level Consultations on Maritime Affairs

2021/02/04

On February 3, 2021, the 12th round of China-Japan high-level consultations on maritime affairs was held via video link, co-hosted by Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Hong Liang and Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan Takehiro Funakoshi. Officials from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, National Energy Administration, China Coast Guard and other departments, as well as Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet Secretariat, Fishery Agency, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, Japan Coast Guard, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Defense also attended the meeting.

Based on the meeting between the heads of delegations on January 20, this round of consultations saw a plenary meeting for the consultation mechanism and three working group meetings on maritime defense, maritime law enforcement and security, and marine economy. The two sides conducted extensive and in-depth exchange of views on maritime issues and maritime exchanges and cooperation.

Both sides agreed to fully implement the consensus reached by the heads of two countries and the four-point consensus, properly manage differences and conflicts through dialogue, and promote practical cooperation in the maritime field, making the East China Sea a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship. Stressing the importance of peace and stability in the East China Sea, the two sides agreed to hold annual and special meetings for the defense sector's maritime and air liaison mechanism as soon as possible, accelerate the construction of a direct telephone line under the mechanism, and strengthen crisis management and control to prevent unexpected events. The two sides are ready to continue to discuss resource development cooperation in the East China Sea, based on the previously concluded principled consensus on the East China Sea.

China reiterated its stern position on the Diaoyu Islands issues and requested the Japanese side to refrain from taking actions that complicate the situation. China urges Japan to earnestly implement the China-Japan Fishery Agreement and work with China to maintain fishery order in relevant waters. China introduced the relevant content of the Coast Guard Law of the People's Republic of China upon inquiry, and emphasized the enactment of the law is China's normal legislative activity, and is fully in line with international law and practice.

The two sides reached the following consensus on specific maritime cooperation: First, enhance local cooperation between the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center and the Japan Coast Guard and carry out various forms of joint exercises under the framework of the China-Japan Maritime Search and Rescue Agreement.

Second, support further cooperation between the China Coast Guard and the Japan Coast Guard on combating maritime crimes and promote exchanges between law enforcement officers.

Third, promote exchanges concerning marine environmental protection. Both sides confirmed the consensus reached at the second China-Japan Experts Dialogue Platform Meeting on Marine Debris Cooperation and the second China-Japan Marine Debris Seminar, in order to further strengthen cooperation on the prevention and control of marine plastic waste.

Fourth, continue to carry out exchanges between maritime personnel from the two foreign ministries, promote exchanges between young officials of maritime affairs, and support exchanges and cooperation among maritime think tanks as well as academic and educational institutions.

Fifth, cooperate further in combating illegal fishing, promoting eel resource management and conserving fishery resources in the North Pacific.

The two sides also exchanged views on marine resources and energy, wastewater treatment at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, marine science and technology, and marine industrial cooperation.

Both sides agreed in principle to hold the 13th round of high-level consultations on maritime affairs later this year, and to keep close communication between the two delegation heads when needed to manage differences and promote cooperation.

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