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DM Iwaya eager to visit China soon for confidence building

NHK reported online today that Defense Minister Iwaya told reporters after a cabinet meeting this morning that Japan has sent the Maritime Self-Defense Force chief of staff and the destroyer Suzutsuki to participate in an international naval review today to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese navy because “the Japan-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships and the defense authorities of the two countries need to engage in dialogue and exchanges.”

He was quoted as saying that while Japan will speak up when necessary on issues relating to China’s activities in the East and South China Seas, “confidence building to prevent untoward incidents is also important,” so he would like to visit China “as soon as possible.” As for Japan’s deteriorating relations with the ROK, Iwaya revealed that unofficial division-chief-level consultations are taking place between the two defense authorities and that deputy-bureau-chief-level talks will be held soon to restore the bilateral relationship of trust.

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