China, Japan to Pursue Mechanism to Avert Future Maritime Disputes

Posted November 24th, 2011 at 2:25 am (UTC-5)
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China and Japan say they have agreed to work toward developing a crisis management mechanism to head off future maritime disputes in the East China Sea.

Officials say the agreement came Wednesday during a visit to Beijing by Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, who met with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Premier Wen Jiabao. The trip was aimed at preparing the way for a visit to China next month by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

Aides to Gemba said the Chinese also agreed to seriously consider easing restrictions placed on food imports from Japan following the March 11 accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Officials said the crisis management mechanism would provide for regular dialogue involving the foreign, defense, fisheries and energy ministries and the coast guards of the two countries.

Relations between Asia's two largest economies sank the lowest point in years after Japan arrested the captain of a Chinese fishing boat that collided with a Japanese coast guard vessel in the East China Sea in September 2010.

The incident took place near a disputed island chain known in Japan as Senkaku and in China as Diaoyu.