Reference News, a well-known branch of Xinhua News, recently reported that, on the December 27, Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe held a video conference with the Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. The call took about two hours, which exceeded the original scheduled time. The two defense ministers agreed to strengthen bilateral strategic communication and manage risks to prevent conflicts from escalating. Also, they agreed that a defense hotline will be established in 2022. The Japanese Cabinet recently approved a preliminary budget for 2022. The annual increase in the defense budget was 1.1 percent. It not only marks the tenth consecutive year of growth in Japan’s defense budget, but also breaks Japan’s long-standing rule of capping the increase in the defense budget at under one percent of the nation’s GDP. Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao also reported on this news and indicated that, during the call, Nobuo Kishi emphasized the importance of maintaining stability in the Taiwan Strait. This point was left out in the Reference News report.
(1) Reference News, December 29, 2021
(2) Lianhe Zaobao, December 28, 2021