World War 3: Japan and China set up HOTLINE as tensions soar over South China Sea dispute

Saturday, June 9, 2018
By Paul Martin

FEUDING Japan and China have set up a hotline as a backstop as tensions over the South China Sea reach tipping point.

Sat, Jun 9, 2018

The new communication mechanism was brought in after both countries accused the other’s air force of flying too close to rivals and locking onto potential targets sparking fears of an accidental collision that could lead to World War 3.

This triggered the creation of a three-part hotline that was launched after ten years of negotiations and came into effect a month after Chinese Premier of State Li Keqiang visited Japan.

The first part is an annual meeting between their military commanders, followed by a hotline between Japanese and Chinese defence ministries and the third part is a means for aircraft and ships to contact one another directly.

The model took 10 years of crunch negotiations to be agreed on and demonstrates how China and Japan hope to manage their ongoing feud over the Senkaku Islands, the Financial Times reports.

Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s defence minister, said: “This is an important step towards advancing mutual understanding and trust between Japan and China.

“It will have great significance for both countries in avoiding accidental clashes.”

Japan often scrambles fighter jets to intercept the Chinese around the disputed islands in the East China Sea, with terrifying stand-offs between both sides common.

Shen Dingli, a defence expert at Sudan University’s Center for American Studies in Shanghai, said: It’s not a way to improve relations but at least it’s a mechanism to prevent deterioration.”

“It would help avoid an emotional situation like the EP-3 collision which was hard to resolve,’” he added, referring to the 2001 crash between a US EP-3 spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet by Hainan island.

The hotline is awaiting a decision on which technology it would use, but in the meantime Japan and China will continue to use the international Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, which through fairness requires them to communicate in English only.

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