Japan and China have announced the connection of a “Japan-China Defense Authorities Hotline” to avoid unforeseen situations and build trust between the two countries.
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Japan’s Ministry of Defense confirmed equipment and lines have been installed in both Japan and China on 31 March, with the start of operations in the spring of this year.
A Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesperson said the work plan was agreed upon by the Chinese and Japanese defense departments to build the direct telephone link under the maritime and air liaison mechanism.
“The establishment of the direct telephone link will effectively enrich the China–Japan defense communication channels, strengthen the capabilities of both sides to manage and control maritime and air crisis, and help maintain regional peace and stability,” the spokesperson said.
Direct hotlines between two countries aren’t a new idea and were originally used as a quick communication link between heads of states to avoid accidents, miscalculations or surprise attacks that might trigger a nuclear war.
A direct communication Moscow–Washington hotline was created in 1963 between the leaders of the United States and former Soviet Union, now Russian leadership. That system originally used teletype equipment, then fax machines in 1986 and finally moved to secure emails in 2008.
India and Pakistan agreed on a telephone hotline between foreign ministries in 2004, as well as a “terror hotline” for combating terrorist attacks in 2011. North and South Korea opened their first hotline in 1971 and now have 33 telephone lines.
China established hotlines with Russia and the United States in 1998, South Korea in 2008, India in 2010, Vietnam in 2012, and Taiwan in 2015.