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China, Japan to hold eighth defense, security consultation
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China and Japan will hold the eighth consultation on defense and security later this month, during which they will discuss bilateral defense relations, regional security and other issues.

The consultation will be held during the visit to China by Japanese Vice Minister of Defense Kohei Masuda from March 30 to 31. Masuda and Ma Xiaotian, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), will co-chair the consultation, according to the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.

The series of consultations began in 1997 and is hosted by the two countries in turn. It has become an important platform to promote mutual trust in defense and security.

Defense cooperation between China and Japan has developed smoothly since last year.

The visit to Japan of the then Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan, in August 2007, was the first by a Chinese Defense Minister in nearly ten years.

The PLA Navy's missile destroyer "Shenzhen", which visited Japan last December, was the first Chinese warship to visit since 1949.

China also invited Japan to observe a military exercise for the first time last September. Saito Takashi, Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff Office of the Japanese Self-Defense Force, visited China this February.

(Xinhua News Agency March 27, 2008)

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