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Japan FM to discuss sea safety measures

BEIJING - Japan Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba will pay an official visit to China on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said on Tuesday.
Gemba`s visit is at the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Liu said.
"The main purpose of my visit is to lay the ground for Prime Minister (Yoshihiko) Noda`s visit to China" by the end of this year, Gemba told reporters at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Both sides are expected to exchange notes on building a government-to-government "emergency communication mechanism" to avoid potential disputes caused by maritime accidents in waters such as the East China Sea, Japan`s Yomiuri Shimbun website quoted Gemba as saying.
Bilateral ties became tense after the detention of a captain of a Chinese trawler, which collided with Japanese patrol boats in September 2010.
Recently, both countries have improved their emergency responses to maritime accidents, experts said.
Zhang Tianxiong, a 47-year-old Chinese fishing boat captain, was taken into custody along with 10 of his crew members by the Japanese coastguard on Nov 5 while sailing near the Goto islands off Nagasaki in southwestern Japan. He was released on Nov 9 after paying a fine.
Establishing an emergency communication mechanism between China and Japan is a good way to avoid unnecessary maritime disputes, said Shen Shishun, an expert on Asia-Pacific studies with the China Institute of International Studies.
An informing mechanism for potential maritime accidents and a hot line for maritime regulatory and surveillance governing bodies of both sides are among the solutions to improving communication, said Shen.
Feng Zhaokui, a researcher with the Institute of Japanese Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said both countries should continue working on eliminating misunderstandings in maritime issues in the context of Noda`s visit to China.
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations.
Both sides will reassure the guideline of deepening the strategic mutually beneficial bilateral relationship during the meeting, said Japan`s Sankei Shimbun newspaper.
On Wednesday, the ministers are supposed to reconcile on detailed measures to boost bilateral communication, Yomiuri said.
Both countries have realized that mutual understanding is integral to the interest of the Asia-Pacific region, Shen said.
Gemba said he will return to Tokyo early on Thursday, according to Kyodo News Agency.
Shen Qing contributed to this story.
Date:2011-11-23 16:47:02     
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